LITTLETON, MA-GFI Partners and Charlesbank Capital have begun construction on Littleton Distribution Center, an 840,000-sf industrial park on Ayer Road. The speculative project is scheduled to be completed in October. The developers say the project is the only newly constructed, tilt-up concrete building designed around the needs of a regional distributor.

GFI Partners’ purchase of 53 Ayer Rd. in September 2001 included a 400,000-sf existing building situated on 74 acres. This past April, GFI purchased 108 acres of industrial-zoned property on Route 2A which is located in back of the first parcel. The firm acquired the property from 53 Ayer Rd. Associates for $3.9 million. GFI planned to develop 600,000 sf of single-story industrial space on this property.

Currently, GFI has approval to build 840,000 sf of distribution space on the excess land in two buildings–one of 480,000 sf and one of 360,000 sf. The first phase of development is 240,000 sf–one half of the 480,000 sf building–and is the phase which is scheduled for completion this October.

“We believe the overall construction and design elements of the Littleton Distribution Center will not only attract the local and regional industrial users, but satisfy the standards of the most discriminating national companies,” says Matt Laraway, director of brokerage for GFI Partners. Cutler Construction is the contractor for the project, while financing is being provided by Wells Fargo Bank. CB Richard Ellis/Whittier Partners is in charge of leasing with Robert Gibson, Mark Reardon and Bruce Levine, all partners of the firm, working on the project.

The area’s industrial market has an 11% vacancy rate, according to Spaulding & Slye Colliers’ most recent statistics, a figure that is far below the area’s nearly 20% vacancy rate for its office market. Lease rates for the industrial market in the area are approximately $6 per sf.

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