Alliance Commercial does major consolidation deal Chicago-based Alliance Commercial Real Estate Group has arranged the consolidation of Midwest distribution facilities for Ekco Housewares Inc., a subsidiary of Nashua, N.H.-based Ekco Group. Ekco will move into a 700,200 sq. ft. distribution center in Monee, Ill., in May 2000 after the building is completed. The $20 million, 20-year Ecko deal marks one of the largest leases in Chicagoland this year.

Ecko's new facility is expandable to 800,000 sq. ft. and is owned by Los Angeles-based Griffin Capital.

American RE Invest gobbles up New Jersey portfolio Plymouth Meeting, Pa.-based American Real Estate Investment Corp. (AREI)has agreed to buy Reckson Morris Industrial Trust (RMIT), a private REIT, from Melvi lle, N.Y.-based Reckson Associates Realty Corp. and the Morris Cos., Seacaucus, N.J. The $300 million acquisition includes 28 big-box industrial facilities totaling approximately 6.1 million sq. ft. at Exits 8A and 10 on the New Jersey Turnpike; the deal will make AREI the largest public landlord of industrial facilities in the Garden State. The transaction is expected to close in three stages and should be completed by May 2000.

The acquired properties include 111 acres of land supporting 1.6 million sq. ft. of new development, as well as options for 259 acres that can support 2.9 million sq. ft. of development. The average age of the RMIT portfolio is seven years, with average lease terms exceeding six years.

With the deal, American has obtained commitments to issue approximately $123 million in new equity; $103 million of convertible securities, with $83 million issued to the sellers and $20 million to institutional investors; and $20 million of common stock, which the officers and directors of American have committed to purchase. American is rounding out the financing of the first phase of the acquisition, which closed last month, with a $98 million mortgage from an institutional lender and the assumption of $16.5 million of existing debt.

Colliers brings more juice to Las Vegas lease deal Colliers International-Las Vegas has negotiated a $13.5 million lease deal for a build-to-suit distribution center on behalf of Lakeville/Middleboro, Mass.-based Ocean Spray Cranberries. Ocean Spray has signed a 10-year lease for 300,000 sq. ft. with Newport Beach, Calif.-based Western Realco.

The facility will house Ocean Spray's western region distribution center and is the company's second Las Vegas-area distribution hub.

Development rolls downhill to Florida Two industrial/mixed-use developments will add more than 2 million sq. ft. to central and south Florida's distribution/light-industrial markets over the next year. Atlanta-based McDonald Development Co. has begun Crowne Point Commerce Park, an 824,000 sq. ft. industrial development near Orlando, Fla., while County Lakes, a partnership between Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle and Virginia Beach, Va., developers Steven and Art Sandler, plans to build Miramar Centre in Broward County, Fla., near Miami.

With the company's first development outside metro Atlanta, McDonald closed on a 10.38-acre land deal in July and began construction of a 180,000 sq. ft. facility in September with completion scheduled for April 2000. The remaining 30-plus acres for development will be purchased in phases with the next 11 acres closing this fall. The second building will be 220,000 sq. ft. and expandable to 464,000 sq. ft. Total development cost for Crowne Pointe is estimated at $30 million.

A 93-acre project at the intersection of Miramar Parkway and Interstate 75, Miramar Centre will consist of three 100,000 sq. ft. office buildings and 1 million sq. ft. covering six service centers and eight flex buildings. The partnership plans to begin construction of one office building and two flex buildings in March, with completion slated for late 2000. Total development cost for Miramar Centre is estimated at $125 million. Jones Lang LaSalle will also serve leasing and management representative for the business park.

Bigger and bigger in the Inland Empire Newport Beach, Calif.-based Master Development Corp. plans to develop Origen Rail Center, a 900,000 sq. ft. speculative, industrial/distribution facility in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Construction will begin in first quarter 2000, and completion is expected in fourth quarter 2000.

The project, located at Arrow Route and the I-15 Freeway, is valued at $32 million. Over the past few months, the Ontario, Calif., area has absorbed more than 2.5 million sq. ft, according to Master Development.

Alliance Commercial completes consolidation deal Chicago-based Alliance Commercial Real Estate Group has arranged the consolidation of Midwest distribution facilities for Ekco Housewares Inc., a subsidiary of Nashua, N.H.-based Ekco Group. Ekco Housewares will move into a 700,200 sq. ft. distribution center in Monee, Ill., in May 2000 after the building is completed.

Ecko's new facility is expandable to 800,000 sq. ft. and is owned by Los Angeles-based Griffin Capital. Ecko's 20-year lease is valued at $40 million.

Catellus reels in tenants with big Central Valley leases San Francisco-based Catellus Development Corp. has signed two tenants to leases totaling 750,000 sq. ft. in the company's Girbraltar Industrial Park in Stockton, Calif. Ralphs Grocery Co., which is part of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., has leased 620,000 sq. ft., while 130,000 sq. ft. has been leased by Paxis Inc., a joint venture between Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp. and El Segundo, Calif.-based GATX. The 15-year Ralphs lease is valued at more than $60 million. Catellus has the capacity for an additional 300,000 sq. ft. at Girbraltar.

Ralphs recently purchased 144 divested Albertson's grocery stores and expanded its Northern California distribution presence to meet increased demand from the new stores. Boise, Idaho-based Albertson's sold the stores to dispel antitrust concerns after the company merged with Salt Lake City-based American Stores Co.

Blake Rasmussen, first vice president in the Stockton office of Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis, represented Catellus in both the Paxis and Ralphs transactions. CB Richard Ellis associate David Norrie in the firm's Los Angeles office represented Ralphs.

Flynn Co. brokers Bucks County, Pa., sale The Flynn Co., Philadelphia, has brokered the sale of 3800 Marshall Lane in Bensalem, Pa., on behalf of an undisclosed seller. Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Life Insurance Co. purchased the 24-acre property for $14.07 million.

The development totals 465,800 sq. ft. and includes four 115,200 sq. ft. warehouse quadrants with a 5,000 sq. ft. offset office wing. The building was 100% leased at the time of sale.

Voit, Studley close California deals Anaheim, Calif.-based Voit Commercial Brokerage and the Los Angeles office of New York-based Julien J. Studley closed the summer negotiating leases totaling more than 780,000 sq. ft. Voit negotiated a 302,525 sq. ft. lease for Schenectady, N.Y.-based GE Plastics in Chino, Calif., and a 233,791 sq. ft. lease for Houdini Inc.'s headquarters/distribution relocation in Fullerton, Calif. Studley negotiated a 250,306 sq. ft. lease in Chino on behalf of Irvine, Calif.-based Kia Motors America Inc., which is relocating its western region distribution center from Fullerton next month.

GE Plastics' 15-year, $18.5 million lease at Los Angeles-based Majestic Realty Corp.'s Majestic Spectrum will serve as GE Plastics regional manufacturing and distribution headquarters. The facility is expandable to 400,000 sq. ft., and GE expects to take the remaining 97,475 sq. ft. within the next few years.

Gift-basket maker Houdini's 10-year, $10.5 million lease fully occupies the 429,000 sq. ft. building at 4201 Bonita Place in Fullerton.

Barry Co. brokers sale/leaseback The James T. Barry Co., Milwaukee, has brokered a $10.8 million sale/leaseback of a 415,884 sq. ft. industrial and crane facility in Cudahy, Wis. The property is the headquarters of Vilter Manufacturing Corp. and was sold to local Milwaukee-area real estate investors Joe and Ellen Dentice.

Vilter will lease the facility on a long-term basis, controlling the use of the property for 60 years through several options to its lease. Barry Co. brokers Ben Quinette and Steve Traudt negotiated both sides of the transaction.

Opus West eyes Foothill Ranch Phoenix-based Opus West Corp. has acquired 15 acres at Foothill Ranch in Irvine, Calif. from Denver-based ProLogis Trust. With one of the last significant industrial parcels in the area, Opus West plans to begin construction in December on Foothill Business Center, a three-building industrial project totaling 248,000 sq. ft. Completion is scheduled for June 2000.

Opus West already has developed 300,000 sq. ft. of office space for Foothill Corporate Plaza phases I, II and III at Foothill Ranch. The company also has begun construction on the plaza's three-story, 124,000 sq. ft. phase IV office building.