CHICAGO—Huge, modern, big-box distribution facilities typicallygain a lot of notice, but the smaller and older industrialbuildings scattered throughout Chicago's suburbs contain asignificant portion of the area's economic power. And many of theseproperties remain attractive to investors. Value IndustrialPartners, for example, specializes in this class ofindustrial buildings and just closed the purchase of two more witha total of 91,000-square-feet. The firm now owns and manages dozensof similar properties with about 3.7-million-square-feet.

The first, 1101-1133 Ellsworth Avenue in VillaPark, is a fully-leased 51,000-square-foot building currentlyoccupied by four tenants. One of its main attractions was an18-foot ceiling clearance, a rare find for buildings that provideunits of this size in this submarket, according to VIP's Directorof Leasing Brian Gedvilas. His research showedthat companies seeking between 8,000-square-feet and12,000-square-feet in the Addison and Villa Park area have manyoptions, but only if they could make do with a low clearance. Butif they need at least an 18-foot clearance, these towns havenothing available.

“It's a natural fit for us and a good building our tenant basecan grow into if needed,” Gedvilas says. “We would have bought iteven if it had some vacancies.”

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Brian J. Rogal

Brian J. Rogal is a Chicago-based freelance writer with years of experience as an investigative reporter and editor, most notably at The Chicago Reporter, where he concentrated on housing issues. He also has written extensively on alternative energy and the payments card industry for national trade publications.