CHICAGO—Michelin has entered into abuild-to-suit agreement to lease 1.7-million-square-feet ofdistribution space that Ridge Development willsoon begin developing at the RidgePort LogisticsCenter in Wilmington, IL, about 40 miles southwest ofChicago. The developers expect to deliver the project for the tiremanufacturer in mid-2015.

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Ridge, the industrial arm of Transwestern DevelopmentCompany, is the developer of RidgePort, a 1,500-acre,rail-served intermodal park with room for 14-million-square-feet ofindustrial, warehousing and logistics buildings.

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“We are excited to break ground on the Michelin project,” saysJim Martell, president of Ridge Development. “Asone of the largest U.S. distribution complexes when fully builtout, this project should boost RidgePort to one of the mostsignificant logistics parks in the country.”

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A joint venture between Ridge Development and a state pensionfund advised by Heitman Financial owns thefacilities. JLL's Keith Stauber; DominicCarbonari; Steve Ostrowski andRich Thompson brokered the lease on its behalf.JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. is providing financingfor the construction, which Ledcor Group willspearhead as general contractor.

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“The Michelin project substantiates RidgePort as a compellingplayer in the freight movement and logistics sector in WillCounty,” says John Greuling, president and chiefexecutive officer of the Will County Center for EconomicDevelopment. “This project confirms the county as one ofthe more significant logistics centers in the Midwest as far asattractiveness and transportation options.”

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RidgePort sits about three miles south of the I-55 Arsenal Rd.exit that leads to the BNSF Logistics Park-Chicagoin Elwood and Union Pacific-Joliet IntermodalTerminal in Joliet. The park would also serve as thewestern terminus of the proposed Illiana Expressway, a toll roadthat would connect I-55 and I-65 in northern Illinois and Indiana.Located in the Will County Inland Port region, thelargest inland container port in North America, RidgePort provideseconomic incentive packages to qualified companies, has anEnterprise Zone designation and qualifies for aForeign Trade Zone designation.

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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.