The buildings sit next to rail lines, highways, and the airport

MILWAUKEE—Avison Young has been awarded the exclusive sale listing for Airport Industrial Park, a portfolio located next to the Milwaukee region’s primary airport, and firm officials tell GlobeSt.com that the 1.12-million-square-foot collection of 12 buildings in suburban Cudahy provides a great opportunity for investors looking for product outside the core markets.

“Not everyone is looking for a Dart deal,” says Erik Foster, the principal and practice leader of its national industrial capital markets team, a reference to the giant Dart Container/Solo Cup National Distribution Center just outside Chicago, which, as reported in GlobeSt.com, sparked global interest when it hit the market before selling for $85 million in a deal brokered by Avison Young.

But the Milwaukee-area industrial market continues to outperform many major markets in the country and has shown positive absorption for 14 consecutive quarters, Foster points out. The market also has a 7.1% vacancy rate, a rate that has been declining since 2009, and stable rents.

Although he is not at liberty to disclose the portfolio’s exact vacancy rate, he does say “this is a value-add portfolio with a greater-than-market vacancy rate,” and will allow the eventual buyer the opportunity to increase revenue through lease-up.

“It’s a sizable transaction with many moving parts and pieces, so it requires sophisticated ownership,” he adds. “The buyer, like the current owner, will be institutional.”

Located on a 62.97-acre site adjacent to General Mitchell International Airport, the Airport Industrial Park buildings range in size from 24,471-square-feet to 230,433-square-feet and have a tenant roster that includes local, regional and national companies. Among the tenants are: Ace Industrial Properties, a tenant since 2007 that occupies 23% of the portfolio; Versa Technologies; DHL Air Express; Milwaukee Composites, which has its corporate headquarters in the park; and Alpha Baking, a food distributor that leases the entire building it has occupied since 1992.

“This portfolio fills an important niche given its proximity to the airport and highways and rail lines,” Foster says. The users occupy relatively small spaces, but their operations here are “critical given the proximity to all of the transportation hubs.”

“The returns on this portfolio could be better than what we achieved with our Dart transaction,” Foster concludes.

The properties in the portfolio are:

  • 1900 East College Ave., a 43,857 SF building
  • 1920 East College Ave., 24,471 SF building
  • 2100-2130 East College Ave., 99,264 SF building
  • 2200 East College Ave., 111,234 SF building
  • 6205-6275 S. Ace Industrial Dr., 86,732 SF building
  • 6201 S. Ace Industrial Dr., 39,507 SF building built on 2.5 acres in 1985
  • 6001 S. Ace Industrial Dr., 169,128 SF building built in 1965 and rehabbed in 2003
  • 6120 S. Ace Industrial Dr., 56,400 SF building built in 1999 and rehabbed in 2004
  • 1901-1935 E. Ace Worldwide Dr., 51,300 SF building built on 4 acres in 1993
  • 1900-1933 E. Kelly Lane, 230,433 SF building built in 1986 and rehabbed in 1988
  • 6055 S. Pennsylvania Ave., 140,034 SF building built in 1972 and rehabbed in 1980
  • 5877 S. Pennsylvania Ave., 69,834 SF building built in 1973 and rehabbed in 1993