Industrial news

Balke Brown to develop metro St. Louis distribution centers St. Louis-based Balke Brown Acquisition Corp., a subsidiary of Balke Properties, plans to build two spec distribution centers totaling 465,000 sq. ft. at Fountain Lakes Commerce Center in St. Charles, Mo. The company recently agreed to purchase 25 acres at Fountain Lakes with an option for 27 additional acres to expand the development to 1 million sq. ft. Balke Brown purchased the land from St. Louis-based MB Properties LLC.

Both buildings in the $15 million first phase are scheduled for a November completion and targeted toward different tenants, according to Don Land, Balke's vice president of development. The larger building, a 290,000 sq. ft. flow-through structure, is designed to attract bulk-space users, while the second building, a 175,000 sq. ft. warehouse, is designed for smaller users needing more office space.

According to Land, prospective tenants are attracted to the site because of St. Charles County's lower taxes, as well as how the site does not rely on a levy to protect it from a 500-year flood.

IDI asks: Why not develop another one? Atlanta-based Industrial Developments International (IDI) recently broke ground on Pompano Business Center, a 112-acre, 1.8 million sq. ft. project near I-95 in Pompano, Fla. Pompano Business Park is IDI's second industrial/distribution development in south Florida, following Weston Business Center.

The park's first two buildings, which total more than 320,000 sq. ft., are scheduled for completion in October.

"We ended up being the winning bidder, and demand justified going ahead with development," says Scott Helms, vice president of marketing and leasing for IDI's Eastern Region. "There's just a limited amount of land available in Broward County."

S.C. Johnson Wax, Liquid Container sign Wisconsin leases Rosemont, Ill.-based Colliers Bennett & Kahnweiler has brokered two leases at 7100 Durand in Racine, Wis., totaling 583,000 sq. ft. Racine-based Case Corp. developed 7100 Durand.

Racine-based S.C. Johnson Wax leased 365,000 sq. ft. for warehousing.

S.C. Johnson anticipates construction of a road linking the warehouse with its corporate headquarters.

Chicago-based plastic bottle manufacturer Liquid Container leased the remaining 218,000 sq. ft. to produce bottles for its S.C. Johnson account.

Koll sells three in California industrial parks Newport Beach, Calif.-based Koll Development Co. posted strong spring sales at two California industrial developments: Koll Arden Industrial Center in Hayward and The Plantation in City of Industry. The two Plantation transactions exceed $18.2 million and account for 45% of the available space in the development's 815,000 sq. ft. second phase, while the Arden Industrial Center transaction is valued at $6 million.

Koll sold two buildings totaling 364,000 sq. ft. at The Plantation, a 1.4 million sq. ft. spec complex. LaVerne, Calif.-based cosmetics manufacturer Markwins International purchased a 309,000 sq. ft. building for expansion and consolidation of the company's five San Gabriel Valley locations. Markwins will move into the facility next month.

Also at The Plantation, Koll sold a 55,000 sq. ft. headquarters/warehouse building to electrical contractor Morrow Meaders, which will relocate from Walnut, Calif., in December.

Koll sold the last of four buildings - a 101,805 sq. ft. structure - at Arden to Tustin, Calif.-based Alexander's Moving and Storage. Alexander's will relocate from a 60,000 sq. ft. warehouse it previously occupied in Hayward.

Duke-Weeks merger closes Indianapolis-based Duke Realty Investments and Atlanta-based Weeks Corp. closed their merger early this month, creating Duke-Weeks Realty Corp. Shareholders approved the merger June 18, with 81% voting for the merger. What the other 19% were thinking, we're not quite sure.

The combined REIT brings 96 million sq. ft. of industrial and office development, 4,000 acres of undeveloped land with the potential for 65 million sq. ft. of development, a $5 billion-plus market cap and 14 consecutive quarters of double-digit FFO growth to the table, creating the largest existing office/industrial REIT. After the March merger announcement, Duke-Weeks put together a 180-member transition team to integrate the companies.

"It's extraordinarily interesting, and over time it's a great opportunity to take a look with fresh eyes at everything we do," says Gene Zink, Duke-Weeks executive vice president and chief financial officer. "The focus has been pretty strong for some time now. We have a huge pipeline of development under construction, and our markets continue to be strong.

"So, our primary focus will be to keep those 14 consecutive quarters of FFO growth going," Zink adds.

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