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CHICAGO-CenterPoint Properties Trust has landed a long-term lease on 49 acres at O’Hare International Airport as well as $50 million in tax-exempt bonds to build 800,000 sf of air freight space. Construction will begin in October on O’Hare Express North, on the north side of the airport, and is expected to take three years.

CenterPoint already has developed the 50-acre O’Hare Express Center on the south side of the airport with a $44-million special facility revenue bond issue, paying an interest rate of 3.15%. The market’s largest industrial REIT’s presence at the airport already includes 10 buildings totaling 1.8 million sf with another 2.5 million sf of “just-off-airport” facilities.

“We have a tremendous amount of interest on this site from several top tier air-freight forwarders and anticipate matching the success at O’Hare Express Center, our initial on-airport park,” says CenterPoint vice president of airport development Chuck Henschel.

Sphere Development, a minority-owned firm, is a joint venture partner in the O’Hare Express North project. Also involved is the development team that acted as general contractor for the O’Hare Express Center — FCL Builders Inc. and minority-owned UBM Inc., one of the largest minority owned construction firms in the region.

The deal is expected to create approximately 900 construction jobs and up to 900 permanent, full-time jobs. Half of the trade jobs must go to Chicago residents under the deal with the city.

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