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JOLIET, IL-CenterPoint Properties Trust has unveiled plans for a 300,000-sf built-to-suit deal at its CenterPoint Intermodal Center, a part of the former Joliet Arsenal site that the REIT began redeveloping last year. This is the first major development at the Joliet Arsenal site, aside from two prelease deals–621 acres of land to Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) for an intermodal yard, and a 57-acre site sold to DSC Logistics for a one-million-sf distribution center.

Partners Warehouse is a freight-transportation provider that processes rail-to-truck and truck-to-rail bulk cargo shipments. According to the company, its current 150,000-sf freight distribution facility in southwest suburban Hodgkins, IL, which is also served by BNSF, is outdated and too small. Partners’ future facility at CenterPoint Intermodal will have direct access to the BNSF intermodal yard, including a double-rail spur into the building, providing 14 double-dock doors from which 28 rail cars can be loaded or unloaded at the same time.

When the intermodal facility is completed in the summer of 2002, the center will be the only industrial business park in the metro area with intermodal facilities on site. Union Pacific will also have access to the park.

CenterPoint COO Mike Mullen cites a number of industries interested in the park’s rail capabilities, including paper companies, plastic makers, chemical concerns and food handlers. “Some companies may use train car loads of different plastics,” he explains, “for example, different kinds of plastics at different times of the day. That kind of company would be interested in a place where it can all be handled efficiently.”

The redevelopment involves more than a new intermodal facility, however. Recently, CenterPoint Properties, which is the largest industrial ownerin the Chicago area with 32 million sf, donated $2.4 million to Elwood (IL) School District as part of a public benefits package to support various improvements in the towns that surround the redeveloped Joliet Arsenal. The donation will help fund renovations at Elwood Grade School, which is expected to see an influx of students in the coming years, due to job growth spurred by the redevelopment.

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