CHICAGO—Growing demand has pushed up occupancy and rental ratesin industrial buildings across the metro area, and the I-55corridor has become one of the most active submarkets. TheOpus Group just became the latest developer totake advantage of this strengthening market by launching theconstruction of two speculative industrial buildings inParagon Business Park, located off Taylor Rd. insuburban Romeoville. Upon completion, the project will add about255,000-square-feet of new class A industrial space to thesubmarket with an additional 7-acre site that could accommodatebuild-to-suits of up to 115,000-square-feet. Opus purchased the22-acre site from First American Properties andwill begin construction this fall.

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“Low vacancy rates and the lack of available stand-alone100,000- to 200,000-square-foot buildings reinforce that there isdemand for this type and size of space in this location, especiallyfor users looking to purchase their own facility,” saidMatt Kurucz, real estate manager for OpusDevelopment Company, LLC, in a prepared statement. He wasnot available by press time, but next week GlobeSt.com will provideadditional comment on the project and the prospects for industrialdevelopment in the area. “We're excited to launch this project andmeet the needs of prospective tenants and user-buyers within theI-55 corridor.”

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Opus will build two speculative buildings with about133,800-square-feet and 121,200-square-feet, respectively, andcomplete the projects in the summer of 2015. The buildings willhave 30' clear heights and meet the needs of either single- ormulti-tenant occupancy.

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This is not the only speculative project underway in theneighborhood. As reported in GlobeSt.com, rising rental rates for similar industrial propertieshelped Molto Properties launch an189,700-square-foot spec project in Romeoville. “Buildings of thissize are now renting for high $3-per-square-foot to a little morethan $4,” Todd Naccarato, founder and seniorprincipal of Molto, told GlobeSt.com. “Eighteen months ago, rateswere stuck at $3.25 to $3.35.”

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Other developers finished up significant projects in the secondquarter. IDI, for example, enclosed a602,600-square-foot spec bulk warehouse/distribution building at700 S. Weber Rd. in Bolingbrook, according toColliers' second quarter report on industrialproperty. And Conor Commercial Real Estate completed a 347,400-square-foot build-to-suit forOrbus Exhibit & Display Group at Union PointeBusiness Park in Woodridge.

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“Construction deliveries to date reached1.8-million-square-feet, which is the highest annual total since2008 when 2.5-million-square-feet of new projects wereconstructed,” Colliers found.

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Opus Development Company, LLC is the owner and developer of thenew Romeoville project. Opus Design Build, LLC isthe design-builder and Opus AE Group, LLC is thearchitect and structural engineer of record.

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Terry Grapenthin and JeffGalante of Lee & Associatesrepresented First American Properties in this transaction. Opus wasrepresented by Jason West and SeanHenrick of Cushman & Wakefield.

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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.