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MINOOKA, IL-Lower land costs played a major role in Catellus Development Corp.’s decision to locate a 1-million-sf build-to-suit for Kellogg’s Corp. in this town in the growing I-55 Corridor. “That was purely driven by cost,” says Tim Hennelly, vice president of sales for Itasca, IL-based FCL Builders, which will construct the industrial facility.

Hennelly tells GlobeSt.com location remains the biggest factor in build-to-suit decision-making, but that issue goes hand-in-hand with land costs. In the Chicago market, the lower land costs are found in the southwest suburbs, particularly further away from the city along the I-55 Corridor.

However, costs usually propel clients to go the build-to-suit route in the first place, versus conventional construction, Hennelly says. “You don’t usually finish these projects in the same amount of time as spec buildings,” he adds. “People want to design their own space. It’s a lot like buying a custom-built home.”

FCL was expecting business to be flat or a bit down this year. “It has slowed down since September started, but we’d signed a few deals in the summer that we were pleasantly surprised to get,” Hennelly says. “But we did expect a slowdown based on what people were telling us.”

Some of the larger build-to-suit projects in the Chicago market include:

* Columbus, OH-based The Pizzuti Companies built an 871,000-sf build-to-suit for Pactiv Corp. in the 800-acre Pinnacle Business Park in southwest suburban Romeoville.

FCL Builders, Inc. recently constructed a 400,100-sf facility in west suburban Naperville for Anonymous Diehl LLC, which promptly leased it to business-to-business catalog company LTD Commodities.

*353,000 sf at IDI Inc.’s Turnberry Lakes International Business Park in northwest suburban Hanover Park for Fuji Photo Film, USA Inc. Kajima Construction Services of Palatine, IL was the contractor.

* A 141,056-sf office and assembly facility for Plexus Electronic Assembly at Millbrook Business Center in north suburban Buffalo Grove, being built by Northfield-based Valenti Builders Inc.

* Hellerman Tyton is taking a 100,369-sf build-to-suit building in Catellus Development Corp.’s Internationale Centre West in southwest suburban Bolingbrook. FCL Builders is doing design work and building there as well.

* 100,000 sf in the CenterPoint Business Center-Northlake in that west suburb for Delta-Unibus Corp., which will use it as a corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility. East Dundee, IL-based KLN Design Builders, Inc., was general contractor.

While 100,000 sf is an average job for his company, FCL’s Hennelly says 80,000 sf is about average in the market now. “We see as many or more smaller users,” Hennelly says.

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