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JOLIET, IL-CenterPoint Properties Trust and Caterpillar Inc. have struck a sale/leaseback deal involving four buildings totaling 2.9 million sf. The world’s largest producer of construction and gas turbine engines uses the buildings, located on 280 acres next to the Empress Casino, to make hydraulics and hydraulic systems.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, the Oak Brook-based REIT has paid an average of $45 per sf in its 2003 acquisitions. That would translate into a $130-million sale. Meanwhile, Grubb & Ellis’ most recent industrial office report puts rents at $4.38 per sf for warehouse and distribution space up to $11.36 per sf for research and development/flex space in the I-55 Corridor, a submarket where 15.4% of the space is vacant.

However, the REIT is looking beyond its long-term lease with Caterpillar. “While we announced a long-term sale/leaseback today, ultimately it is our intent to redevelop portions of the site and to further build our relationship with Caterpillar Inc.,” says CenterPoint Properties president and chief operating officer Michael M. Mullen.

Besides lowering the company’s cost, Caterpillar is happy to do the deal because it will ultimately result in additional redevelopment in its home base of Joliet, says Jim Waters, general manager of the hydraulics and hydraulics system business unit.

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