A privately held assembly and packaging company has leased nearly 452,000 sq. ft. of an existing warehouse in Southwest Chicago for the next 12 years. The deal is the largest take-down of space by an industrial user since 2005, according to brokers at Op2mize LLC. Based in Northbrook, Ill., Op2mize is the real estate services firm that represented the tenant.

“We looked everywhere in the Chicagoland area including Indiana, but at the end of the day this was the location and value proposition that made the most sense for Assemblers and our customers,” says Joel Rosenbacher, president of Assemblers.

Chicago-based Assemblers provides labor-intensive assembly, contract packaging, packing and warehouse and distribution services. The company employs more than 200 full-time workers and seasonally ramps up by several hundred more each year. Assemblers had been leasing a smaller space at the property. “This is a modern, well-built, suburban-style facility that keeps users such as Assemblers from having to move further out,” says Geoffrey Kasselman, president of Op2mize. “This is a major victory for the City of Chicago and those that live and work here.”

Valued in excess of $23 million, the lease covers approximately 70% of the structure at 2850 West Columbus Avenue, near Marquette Park. Trevor Ragsdale of The Staubach Co. represented the landlord, Gateway Park LLC. “This was a complicated and challenging set of circumstances so we are pleased to have ultimately achieved a legitimate win-win solution for everyone,” Ragsdale says.

Assemblers’ new space features 30-foot ceilings, an early suppression fast response fire sprinkler system, exterior docks and energy-efficient lighting and heating systems. The property is also located in an enterprise zone.

The last time an industrial user deal in Chicago exceeded the size of the Assemblers lease was when Ribbon Webbing purchased a 584,295 sq. ft. structure at 1155 N. Cicero Ave. in 2005, according to Kasselman. “There simply aren’t many user deals like this being done in close proximity to the population density of the city,” he says. But in the future, there will be more infill deals as energy costs continue to rise, underscoring the need for better operating efficiency, Kasselman says.