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CenterPoint lands 2 deals at Joliet-area intermodal

As seen in Chicago Real Estate Daily (Crain’s) — CenterPoint Properties Trust has completed two deals at its intermodal center in the Joliet area, bringing the complex to roughly half complete.

CenterPoint just broke ground on a 265,000-square-foot building for Chicago Ridge-based Resource Management Cos., which collects recyclables and ships them to global manufacturers. RMC signed a 10-year, triple-net lease for the building, says CenterPoint Vice-President Brian McKiernan. He declined to disclose other terms of the deal.

“The export market is going to Asia, so we’re kind of excited to have a balanced operation between the export side and import side and I think RMC really showcases the export piece of the business within the park,” Mr. McKiernan says.

About two miles north of that project, CenterPoint last week sold a fully improved 39-acre site to APL Ltd., a Singapore-based shipping company. The site will be used to hold the huge containers used for shipping products. The deal includes a small administration building and a maintenance and repair facility of about 18,000 square feet on the site. CenterPoint Vice-President Jeremy Grey and an APL executive declined to disclose the sale price.

“We’ve located APL’s Chicago Global Gateway terminal at CenterPoint for a number of reasons: access to the major western railroads, easy road access and the ability to develop an advanced facility that gives us flexibility and modern technology,” APL says in a statement. “This terminal will be a major inland hub for APL.”

RMC did not return a call.

The transactions are victories for CenterPoint as it continues to build out the intermodal center. The company has invested about $1 billion already in the two yards, which could potentially house a total of about 32 million square feet of industrial space adjacent to intermodal terminals serving the BNSF and Union Pacific railroads. CenterPoint projects 15,000 full-time workers at the yards.

“Chicago is really the center of logistics within the country,” Mr. McKiernan says. “Being at (interstates) 55 and 80 allows retailers and importers and exporters to basically consolidate all of their inventory and distribute throughout the region.”

CenterPoint is seeing about 1 million square feet of annual absorption since the Elwood yard opened in 2001, Mr. McKiernan says. About 2,300 acres of the 6,100 acres remain undeveloped, allowing for another 15 million to 20 million square feet of buildings. The Joliet yard opened in 2008.

“We feel fortunate we’ve been able to consistently hit that mark,” Mr. McKiernan says. “Obviously it’s not easy, but I think that’s kind of our goal year-over-year.”

Mr. McKiernan says CenterPoint is well-positioned by permanent assets such as the railroad and interstates but also poised to shift focus elsewhere should Chicago lose its status as a vital logistics hub in the future.

“CenterPoint’s philosophy nationally is to go through the supply chain trade lanes … it’s not just Chicago-based,” Mr. McKiernan says, while adding “we’re bullish on Chicago and its position is the same as in New York, New Jersey, and (Los Angeles).”

Dan Leahy and Adam Roth of Oakbrook Terrace-based NAI Hiffman represented CenterPoint in the APL purchase and brokered the RMC deal on behalf of both parties. APL was represented by David Lane of Conyers, Ga.-based Burr & Temkin South Inc. and Catherine Thomsen of APL.

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