CHICAGO—Walgreens just became the latestoccupier in the I-55 Corridor to sign up for a big lease expansion,and developers have taken notice of the activity. The retailer hadoccupied all of 370 Crossroads Parkway in suburban Bolingbrookexcept for 146,000-square-feet, but decided to take over all therest and bring the 258,560-square-foot facility to 100%occupancy.

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Duke Realty owns and manages the building.Dan Leahy and Adam Roth,executive vice presidents with NAI Hiffman'sindustrial services team, represented Duke in the transaction.Kris Bjorson of JLL representedWalgreens.

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All of the submarket's leasing activity “is very encouraging,”Roth tells GlobeSt.com. Tenants signed agreements to lease2.1-million-square-feet in the first quarter, nearly four times theamount leased in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to a recentreport by Colliers. Ferrara PanCandy and Midwest Warehouse & DistributionSystem, Inc. signed two of the most significant leases,both in Bolingbrook, for, respectively, 747,200-square-feet at 901Carlow Dr. and 650,500-square-feet at 1450 Remington Blvd.

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“A number of developers are now looking to build speculativeprojects in the corridor,” Roth adds. In fact, he estimates thatdevelopers will complete about 3-million-square-feet of speculativespace over the next ten months. “Spec is back in the I-55Corridor.”

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Duke, for example, plans to complete, on a speculative basis,the Enterprise Distribution Center at 1341Enterprise Dr. in Romeoville by December. The 324,115-square-footfacility will have 32' clear ceiling height and 36 docks.

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The economy's steady recovery has released a lot of pent-updemand, Roth concludes, and has made “conversations betweenlandlords and tenants much more real. A lot of corporations are nowmoving forward with space requirements, and most developers see itthe same way.”

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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.