chi-BatoryFoodsrendering (2) Batory Foods will have this distribution facility in Wilmington ready by October.

CHICAGO—There isn’t much industrial space available in the I-80 submarket, and 2016 looks like it will be a big year for new construction. Batory Foods has just become the latest distributor to launch a major project in the area. The Des Plaines, IL-based national food ingredient company will soon occupy a new 678,000 square foot build-to-suit facility at Ridge Development’s RidgePort Logistics Center in Wilmington, IL. The new facility will sit on about 36 acres and Batory will have the ability to expand on an additional 22 acres.    

Batory already has 30 distribution centers throughout the country, but has decided to use the RidgePort facility to launch a new line of business providing third party logistics services. To fulfill the Batory’s needs, the new facility needs special features such as custom-built food grade dock packages. That helped company officials to decide on seeking a build-to-suit opportunity.

They selected Newmark Grubb Knight Frank to conduct an extensive market analysis and site evaluations. NGKF’s Brian Reaney, director, Paul Buckingham, senior managing director, and Brian Carroll, executive managing director, represented Batory Foods in the transaction. Construction on the new distribution center will begin this month and Batory expects to take occupancy of the new space by October 2016.

“RidgePort Logistics Center was ultimately selected for its proximity to the I-55/I-80 interchange and ability to accommodate future growth needs,” says Reaney. “This build-to-suit enables Batory Foods to construct a facility to address specific needs and requirements for maximum operational efficiency.”

The facility will also feature an automatic gate system that will decrease carrier cycle time on-site and increase throughput, providing up-to-the-minute accuracy in inventory availability. Furthermore, employees will have access to a walking track and an outdoor amenities space. Harris Architects, Inc. is providing the architectural services and Alston Construction is the general contractor.

Located in Will County, less than 40 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, RidgePort Logistics Center is a developing 14 million square foot rail-served park situated on more than 1,500 acres. It is strategically positioned three miles from the entrance to the BNSF Logistics Park-Chicago in Elwood and the Union Pacific-Joliet Intermodal Terminal in Joliet.

Construction activity has really picked up in this area, which just saw its vacancy rate sink to 5.53%, a drop of about 300 bps in the past year, according to Colliers International. In the third quarter of last year, a 1.7 million square foot build-to-suit warehouse was completed for Michelin Tire at the RidgePort center. Developers also have three spec projects currently underway that will add another 1.6 million square feet to the market, including a 504,000 square foot project at RidgePort. And three other build-to-suits for Mars Candy, Saddle Creek Logistics and Cadence Premier Logistics will add about 2.6 million square feet.