Investors continue to flock to the Windy City One of a number of Chicago industrial transactions, White Plains, N.Y.-based SSR Realty Advisors Inc. has acquired three buildings located in separate parks in metropolitan Chicago for $25.5 million. Two of the buildings, Elmhurst I and Glen Pointe VI, were acquired on behalf of SSR's Tower Fund for $14.15 million. The third building, Prairie Point I, was acquired on behalf of a corporate separate account for $11.35 million. Elmhurst and Glen Pointe were acquired directly from the developer, Atlanta-based Industrial Developments International (IDI). Prairie Point was acquired from a partnership in which IDI is the managing member.

The three buildings, totaling 389,635 sq. ft., were completed between December 1997 and March 1999. At acquisition, the portfolio was 88% leased, with a one-year master lease for the remaining space.

Also in Chicagoland, IDI will develop a build-to-suit flex property for Comark Inc. in Hanover Park. The 148,000 sq. ft. building is adjacent to Comark's headquarters in the Hanover Business Park. Completion of the new building is slated for June. Northbrook, Ill.-based Grubb & Ellis represented Comark in the lease agreement.

Back on the acquisition front, Rosemont, Ill.-based Colliers Bennett & Kahnweiler Investment Services has arranged the sale of three buildings in Carol Point Business Center for LaSalle Investment Advisors, a division of Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle. Hartford, Conn.-based Allegis Realty acquired the buildings for an undisclosed amount. The central DuPage County portfolio consists of 427,195 sq. ft. of industrial space.

AMB, Trammell Crow not beating around the Bush San Francisco-based AMB Property Corp. and Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. have received approval from the Houston City Council to develop a 192,336 sq. ft. air cargo processing and distribution center at George Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport. The Houston City Council approved a 40-year, 8.4-acre lease to a partnership formed by AMB and Trammell Crow.

The high-throughput air cargo building will have 34 ft. clear height ceilings and a 150 ft. by 850 ft. clearspan. It will accommodate loading and unloading of up to twelve 747s and 68 trucks.

CB Richard Ellis wheels and deals in the Valley of the Sun The Phoenix office of Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis has negotiated the $25 million sale of three flex/industrial properties totaling 300,000 sq. ft. CB Richard Ellis represented both Boston-based Cabot Industrial Trust, the purchaser, and San Diego-based Douglas Allred Co., which sold the three buildings located near Sky Harbor International Airport.

Cabot acquired a 101,932 sq. ft. distribution center in Eastbank Industrial Park, an 85,259 sq. ft. flex building in Sky Harbor Center and a 109,680 sq. ft. building in Southbank business park. Cabot now owns 3.7 million sq. ft. of industrial space in the Valley.

Stiles builds spec distribution facility near Music City Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Stiles Corp. has begun development on phase one of Eastgate Distribution Center, a 234,000 sq. ft. spec building in Eastgate business park near Nashville, Tenn. Eastgate Distribution Center is Stiles' first project in the Nashville area.

Stiles plans to complete construction at the 15.3 acre site in June. Eastgate Distribution Center will feature steel skeleton tilt-wall construction with bays and ceiling heights between 26 ft. and 32 ft.Stiles als o has purchased nine acres for phase two of Eastgate, where the company plans to construct a 156,000 sq. ft. building when market demand warrants construction.

CalPERS, LaSalle, CenterPoint form joint venture CalEast and Chicago-based CenterPoint Properties have formed a joint venture to invest up to $200 million in industrial properties in the Chicago area. Created in 1998, CalEast is a joint venture formed between the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management.

The joint venture - CenterPoint Venture LLC - will be capitalized 25% by CenterPoint and 75% by CalEast, and seats on the board of directors will be shared equally. CenterPoint will handle the leasing and management of all acquired properties.

Realvest/Alex.Brown Realty form partnership Maitland, Fla.-based Realvest Partners Inc. and Baltimore-based Alex.Brown Realty Inc. have formed a partnership to develop Interchange Center, a 70-acre business park in East Tampa, Fla. Construction for the first phase of the $60 million project is scheduled to begin this month.

Interchange Center marks Realvest's entry into the burgeoning Tampa industrial market, and Steven F. Swann has been named to head the company's Tampa office. The park is adjacent to the Interstate 75/U.S. Highway 301 interchange. o

Speaking of SSR; company buys Boston R&D park Represented by New York-based Insignia/ESG Inc., SSR also has acquired Shawmut Park, a 12-building, 603,000 sq. ft. research and development park in suburban Boston. SSR acquired the development from Boston-based AEW Capital for $44.2 million. Shawmut Park is 25% office, 25% industrial and 50% research and development space.

To the West and to the East, Opus expands Part of The Opus Group of Cos., Minneapolis, both Opus West Corp. and Opus East LLC have embarked on development plans to expand holdings in the Southern California and Philadelphia area industrial markets.

Opus East has acquired an additional 30 acres to begin construction of phase two of The Crossings near Allentown, Pa. Phase two will include 506,660 sq. ft. of cross-docked distribution space. Opus East is targeting 100,000 to 300,000 sq. ft. space needs with phase two. Phase one of The Crossings totals 315,000 sq. ft. and is fully leased. Upon completion, The Crossings will total 1.4 million sq. ft. of industrial space. New York-based Cushman & Wakefield serves as leasing agent for the development.

In Foothill Ranch, Calif., Opus West has begun construction of Foothill Business Center, a three-building spec industrial project totaling 246,072 sq. ft. The three buildings will be built simultaneously and completed by July. Opus West acquired the property for Foothill Business Center from Denver-based ProLogis Trust in August 1999.

In Northern California, Opus West will build Monterey Business Center in San Jose. The six-building, 430,000 sq. ft. development will include two buildings each devoted to manufacturing, warehouse and R&D use. The 25-acre site will include two 77,000 sq. ft. buildings for manufacturing firms, two 33,125 sq. ft. R&D buildings and two 104,000 sq. ft. structures for warehouse space. The San Jose development is in a State of California Enterprise Zone, which provides economic incentives to businesses that locate within the zone.

Duke-Weeks continues to roll in Indianapolis, Cincinnati Indianapolis-based Duke-Weeks Realty Corp. is building two industrial/distribution centers in the northern Kentucky submarket near Cincinnati and another in suburban Indianapolis. At Skyport 275 near Cincinnati, Duke-Weeks is building a 473,000 sq. ft. build-to-suit for Seattle-based Pacific Coast Feather, a company presently occupying 192,000 sq. ft. at Duke-Weeks' Southpark Industrial Park. Pacific Coast Feather's distribution center is expected to be in service by May. Specifications of the building include 43-by-40 ft. column bay spacing, 30 ft. clear height ceilings, 32 docks and three drive-in doors.

Also at Skyport 275, Duke-Weeks has already completed Skyport 4, a 72,000 sq. ft. speculative warehouse/showroom facility.

At Lebanon Business Park near Indianapolis, Duke-Weeks will double the size of Pamida Inc.'s distribution center. Pamida, which recently was acquired by Green Bay, Wis.-based Shopko Stores, currently leases 200,000 sq. ft. at 135 Mt. Zion Road in Indianapolis. Built by Duke-Weeks in 1996, the building will be expanded by 218,000 sq. ft. and completed by June.

ProLogis develops Metroplex build-to-suit

ProLogis is developing a 492,500 sq. ft. build-to-suit distribution center for Oshawa, Ontario, Canada-based Mackie Automotive Systems in the Great Southwest submarket of Arlington, Texas. Mackie Automotive will lease the entire facility and anticipates occupying the building by July.

Mackie selected ProLogis to expand and consolidate its assembly and distribution efforts from two existing ProLogis-owned facilities in the Great Southwest submarket, adding more than 200,000 sq. ft. of industrial space. The new facility will be used to assemble and distribute automotive parts to the General Motors sports utility vehicle plant in Arlington.

Binswanger wrangles Texas, Louisiana and Alabama deals

Philadelphia-based Binswanger has negotiated a number of transactions in Texas and Louisiana, among them Irving, Texas-based Hitachi Semiconductor (America) Inc.'s sale of a 624,473 sq. ft. semiconductor wafer fabrication facility in Irving's Las Colinas Development. San Jose, Calif.-based Atmel Corp. acquired the semiconductor facility, and plans to expand its production operations in the United States. Asking price for the semiconductor facility was $85 million, but the sales price was not disclosed.

In San Antonio, Binswanger negotiated the sale of a 314,000 sq. ft. brewery and warehouse on behalf of Detroit-based Stroh Brewery Co. Stroh sold the building to Lone Star Brewery (LSB) Acquisitions of San Antonio and Austin, Texas. The sale price was not disclosed. LSB Acquisitions is developing a plan for the facility and intends to lease the warehouse to a new tenant.

Moving east, Binswanger has negotiated the sale of a 405,670 sq. ft. grease and lubricant blending plant in Metarie, La., on behalf of Houston-based Equilon Enterprises. New Orleans-based Merrick Enterprises acquired the property for an undisclosed price.

Binswanger also represented Motorola in the sale of a 263,050 sq. ft. industrial facility in Huntsville, Ala., to Huntsville-based the Westminister Group. Westminister will redevelop the three-building facility into a multi-tenant project, Research Place.

SubmitOrder.com: Remember this name As if e-commerce doesn't have you salivating already, Columbus, Ohio-based SubmitOrder.com is on the verge of gobbling up literally millions of square feet of industrial space all over the world, with the backing of some of Silicon Valley's highest flyers. Silver Lake Partners, a $2.3 billion buy-out firm that is associated with Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture capital giant Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, along with Jim Barksdale's The Barksdale Group, also of Menlo Park, recently acquired about half of SubmitOrder for $75 million. Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape Communications and former COO of FDX Corp., will take a seat on SubmitOrder.com's board.

The move makes Silver Lake and The Barksdale Group big players in the e-fulfillment business and gives SubmitOrder.com the financial muscle for rapid expansion. Not even a year old, SubmitOrder.com was spun off from Digital Storage last summer.

As an outsourcer for fulfilling e-commerce orders and customer service, SubmitOrder.com operates four leased distribution centers in Columbus, Ohio, two of which are owned by Indianapolis-based Duke-Weeks Realty Corp.

"We're not a vertical, one market-category type of company," says J.T. Kreager, SubmitOrder.com's president. "We really address the needs of pure-play dot-coms, click-and-mortar retailers and branded manufacturers that want to sell their products over the Internet. The infrastructure that we provide allows them to do that in a real speed-to-market fashion that enables them to build their brand online and scale their sales volume up through all the surges that come throughout the year."

The Silver Lake team and Submit Order.com both spent most of 1999 looking at partners before agreeing to a deal at the end of the year.

Now, SubmitOrder.com is formulating its expansion strategy with intent to lease millions of square feet across North America, Europe and Asia, Kreager says. Generally, the company is looking for big-box leases of 500,000 sq. ft. or more.

"What we're embarking on here is building a service company faster than one's ever been built," says Kreager. "The financial backing that we have - the influx of capital that we have - is strategic in and of itself because it allows us to invest in technology, overall infrastructure and people faster than we might have been able to on our own. It also applies to the experience [Barksdale and Silver Lake] have in operations and information technology and networking and contact relationships that they have built.

"We really see this as a global opportunity because the Internet and e-commerce are global," Kreager continues. "We will need to have distribution centers and customer response centers around the world."

And with SubmitOrder.com's demands for flexible, highly automated distribution space, the company will probably need newer structures. Here, the infancy of the Internet is sure to bring about new challenges.

"Some of the main differences are going to be the speed at which [developers] move and the flexibility needs," says Kreager. "Everyone is going to have to be able to adapt and change at a rate that's just unpredictable at this point. It's a young business, and there's no clear track to follow.

"It's obvious to a lot of developers, but there are intense needs from an information technology standpoint - having fiber come into the park and more electricity for PCs and those kinds of things," he adds. "[These are] basic infrastructure components that are critical for a company like ours to operate."