DAYTON—The revival of the US industrial market, especially inthe Midwest, becomes more apparent with each passing quarter.Industrial developers in the Dayton metropolitan area, for example,one of Ohio's major manufacturing and distribution centers, nowhave 2.4-million-square-feet under construction, according to a newreport from Cassidy Turley, a Washington, DC-basedcommercial real estate services provider.

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“The level of new construction has been on the upswing for thepast year or so,” Jarrett Hicks, a senior researchanalyst in Cassidy Turley's Dayton office, tells GlobeSt.com. “Andit's significantly higher than it has been in the past decade orso.”

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A big portion of the new construction number comes fromPrologis breaking ground last fall on a1.8-million-square-foot distribution center for Proctor& Gamble in Union at the Global LogisticsAirpark. The company expects to finish the project byNovember.

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Still, “new industrial construction was the central driver ofabsorption in 2013, as nearly 1.4-million-square-feet wascompleted,” Hicks adds. “In the fourth quarter alone,395,000-square-feet of industrial space was delivered to themarket,” including buildings for AbbottLaboratories and White Castle.

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The metro area's industrial real estate market had a solid 2013,absorbing 2.26-million-square-feet during the year, with nearly400,000-square-feet of net absorption in the fourth quarter,according to Hicks' research.

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The overall vacancy rate for the fourth quarter was 15.1%, downslightly from the third quarter rate of 15.2%. Several big dealsoccurred in the fourth, especially in the bulk warehouse sector.STAG Industrial, for example, purchased the350,500-square-foot I-70 Commerce Center insuburban Springfield for $9.5 million. And fixture manufactureridX Corp. decided to relocate from 721 SpringfieldSt. in Dayton to a 219,000-square-foot space in the RexWarehouse on Needmore Rd.

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Hicks attributes much of the activity to the general revival ofthe US economy and the abundance of good locations along Dayton'stransportation arteries, which provide distributors quick access toconsumers in metropolitan areas across Ohio and neighboring states.The Abbott, White Castle, and Prologis developments, for example,sit along the I-70 and I-75 corridor north of the city and near airtransportation.

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“With more than 2-million-square-feet under construction andsteadily increasing sales and leasing activity, net absorption for2014 in the Greater Dayton area will meet or exceed 2013 levels,”Hicks' analysis notes.

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But perhaps the most important development in 2014 will beFuyao North America's expected purchase of a largeportion of the 4.2-million-square-foot former GM MoraineAssembly Plant. The 2008-9 crash of the auto industry leftit largely vacant, but the Chinese auto glass manufacturer wants torefurbish the property and start production by 2015, Hicks says.“They are still working out the exact details of that. But thiswill probably be the biggest thing that has happened in the Daytonarea since the GM closure.”

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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.