In Magazine Article

By Mary Maushard

Photo Courtesy of Dalfen America Corporation


Read this article in the January/February 2018 digital edition.

When Dalfen America Corporation (DAC) acquired the Chesapeake Logistics Center in Curtis Bay last summer, the North American industrial real estate giant established a foothold in Maryland.

This large property near the Fairfield Terminal at the Port of Baltimore joins “millions of square feet of premier commercial properties the company owns throughout the United States and Canada,” said DAC’s Communications Coordinator, Mariam Ghoul. It also fits well into the firm’s strategy of buying distribution and storage facilities, especially with an eye toward ecommerce, in key metropolitan areas across the country.

“Our investment focus is on strategically located infill and last-mile-oriented warehouses, logistics centers, multi-tenant business parks and light industrial facilities,” she added.

The logistics center’s location on Chesapeake Avenue near the Port, its proximity to the CSX intermodal facility and the additional land on the 20-acre parcel attracted DAC to the center, which was built in 2004.

The Canadian firm opened its first United States office in Orlando, Fla., in the 1990s, and also has offices in Dallas and Cincinnati, Ohio. At this time, DAC has no physical presence in Baltimore. Nevertheless, it sees its expansion into the area as “ideal for distribution and fulfillment to the 9.3 million residents in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor as well as for companies that need to move products quickly across the U.S.,” DAC President Sean Dalfen said at the time of purchase.dalfen warehouse

The arrival of a new property owner affirms the Port’s continuing opportunities. “DAC’s presence and entrance into our market underscores the growing cargo volume and real estate needs throughout the region,” said Donovan Murray, General Manager of Intermodal/Trade Development at the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Port Administration. “We certainly welcome their growth in the area … as we continue to provide mutual service for all of our customers.”

DAC began in 1935 as Dalfen’s Limited, a family-operated retail clothing chain in Canada. Getting out of the retail trade during the 1970s, Dalfen’s entered the commercial real estate business in Canada. By 1990, the firm had shifted its focus once again — to industrial real estate with expansion into the United States. Today, DAC is “one of the largest buyers of industrial real estate,” Ghoul said, and is often identified as one of the most active, with a range of tenants small and large, national and international. The company’s ties to the founding family remain strong, with Murray Dalfen, son of founder Joseph Dalfen, serving as CEO and the founder’s grandson serving as President.

The Curtis Bay property, purchased from Bay Grove Capital of San Francisco for an undisclosed amount, is undergoing some upgrades. DAC has installed new dock equipment and LED lighting. There is also room to grow on the 20-acre parcel. Ghoul said the extra land offers the flexibility of installing more storage and additional parking on two acres as well as along the side and back of the building.

The former owner is leasing about 90,000 square feet and using the 7-acre storage yard outside the building for its subsidiary, Lineage Logistics, a cold storage business that employs about 30 people there. The remaining 100,000 square feet are vacant; this warehouse space, with a small office, could be modified for future tenants, Ghoul added.

DAC has properties in dozens of U.S. cities throughout the South, Midwest and West. In 2016, the company was named the country’s top Real Estate Investor Operating Company by National Real Estate Investor. The award honors the top-performing firms that have significantly contributed to the commercial real estate industry over the previous 12 months.

Dalfen America Corp. At A Glance

Founded: 1990 (1935 as Dalfen’s Limited)

President: Sean Dalfen

Headquarters: 17304 Preston Road, Suite 550, Dallas, Texas 75252