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Earlier this summer, Bridge Industrial acquired a future development site located in an infill market close to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago—an area that is very difficult to source industrial product for obvious reasons. How did Bridge Industrial accomplish this feat? It struck a sales leaseback deal with a company that was planning to vacate its building and didn’t care if it was demolished once it was gone. Bridge plans to build a state-of-the-art industrial facility in its place that can accommodate many different industrial uses.

At first glance this could just be a story about fortuitous timing. The seller, Nu-Way Industries, is currently looking for a new facility for itself and will remain at the site until its lease runs out.

But dig a little deeper and you will find much larger trends at play, namely the growing number of industrial sale leaseback transactions such as this one. These deals accounted for 7% of the total sales closed last year and 9% of property trades made since the start of this year, according to a mid-year report by CommercialEdge. In general, sale leasebacks are a way for companies to monetize their real estate, allowing them to stay in the building while using the proceeds from the sale of their property to grow their business. But dig deeper even more. While that is surely one of the drivers behind the increase in industrial sale leasebacks, it is not the only.

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Erika Morphy


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