Interstate North Business Center

MINNEAPOLIS—The Twin Cities’ industrial market has been quite active for several years, pushing down vacancy rates and leaving companies that want to expand or relocate very few options. And First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc., a Chicago-based owner, operator and developer of industrial real estate, has decided to take advantage of the situation. It will break ground today on a 142,290-square-foot speculative facility with 32′ clear height on a recently acquired site at the northwest corner of I-694 and Hwy. 81, known as the Interstate North Business Center, in northwest suburban Brooklyn Park.

“It’s so overdue; there is absolutely nothing for a company in the market that wants 32-foot clear,” Chris Willson, First Industrial’s senior regional director and market leader for the Twin Cities, tells “If you want to find 100,000-square-feet with 32-foot clear, I don’t think there is one building on the market.”

First Industrial will also develop a 96,764-square-foot built-to-suit facility on the site for Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota, leased on a long-term basis, which will serve as a donation storage center and also house a Goodwill Outlet Store. The company will invest an estimated $19 million in the two-building project.

Willson adds that First Industrial will finish the new spec development in 2015. It could serve a single user or up to three tenants. “Minneapolis has an extremely diverse industrial community,” but with a high concentration of medical providers, 3PLs, and food-related businesses. “I think we can expect almost any type of industrial user,” although most likely for distribution rather than manufacturing.

As reported in last March, First Industrial acquired the Rivertown Distribution Center, a 251,968-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility at 375 Rivertown Dr. in suburban Woodbury for $13.4 million. And the new spec “is another step in the upgrading of our local portfolio,” Willson says.