LINCOLNWOOD, IL-CenterPoint Properties Trust concedes that the highest and best use of its 247,000-sf industrial asset at 3400 W. Pratt Ave. is no longer industrial. As a result, the Oak Brook-based industrial REIT is fielding offers for the property, which Bell & Howell vacated after paying a $7.2-million lease termination fee.

The development of the Lincolnwood Town Center at the southwest corner of McCormick Boulevard and Touhy Avenue, just north of CenterPoint’s 13-acre property, hastened its demise as an industrial asset, company officials say. The REIT bought the property shortly before the retail center was developed.

Multifamily developers, including a senior housing builder, have suggested the land is worth $14 million to $37 million, CenterPoint Properties Trust officials report during their recent earnings conference call. That dwarfs the value of the property as an industrial use, company officials note, before considering the $7.2 million the REIT collected as Bell & Howell moved out.

When the market suggests a change of use is inevitable, CenterPoint Properties Trust will sell, says chairman and chief executive officer John S. Gates. “We have no intention of getting involved in these disciplines ourselves,” he says. “We are not going to be developers of other product types.”

The pressure to sell off assets is increasing here as well as neighboring North Shore suburbs of Evanston and Skokie, which all share a border with Chicago. An industrial building in Skokie appears headed for reuse as an auto dealership, company officials say, while a church bought a property at 2401 W. Brummel Pl., which the REIT acquired two years ago for $5.4 million.

Also in Evanston, a former 16,355-sf industrial building at 645 Custer Ave. has been sold to a condominium developer for $755,000 “We sense a trend in that many of these types of commercial or industrial buildings located in or near residential neighborhoods, have renewed attraction to developers looking to create multi-family housing in these markets,” says Paul G. Demik, Sr., principal for DK Realty Partners, whose Tyler G. Neptune, Jr. brokered the sale.

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