CHICAGO—Order something through Amazon in the morning, andyou're likely to hear a knock on your Downtown apartment door byfour that afternoon. As in many cities across the country,last-mile shipping is huge here, and that has been a major driverof the industrial market's success.

But, as Jeff Janda and Jim Planey, principals of Lee &Assoc. of Illinois explain, there are some old-school truths aboutthe Chicago market that underpin its new-age upsurge. “We don'tcompete heavily with any city in the Midwest,” says Planey, whoexplains that the city will lose an occasional deal to St. Louis,Indianapolis or Columbus. “But what strengthens Chicago as alogistics center is Lake Michigan, and as a result, you have todrive through Chicago to go east or west. By default ourgeography—in addition to our rail system and highways, has madedecades of difference for Chicago.”

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John Salustri

John Salustri has covered the commercial real estate industry for nearly 25 years. He was the founding editor of GlobeSt.com, and is a four-time recipient of the Excellence in Journalism award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.