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KENOSHA, WI-First Industrial Realty Trust has purchased 70 acres here, a few miles from the Illinois border, for the development of almost one million sf of buildings. The property is at 88th Avenue and State Route 158, near Interstate 94.

The company plans to develop the site into a business park named First Kenosha Commerce Center. Phase 1 of the development, consisting of two multi-tenant buildings of 135,000 sf and 258,000 sf, will break ground in spring 2007.

The Kenosha area, just north of the Illinois border, is seen by developers and owners as a cheaper place to build industrial along I-94, and is considered part of the Chicagoland market. The city, as well as Kenosha County and Wisconsin, offer incentives to Chicago-based firms looking to build, buy and lease.

“We’re seeing a lot of demand for Kenosha coming out of northern Illinois and Lake County,” says Mike Powers, development manager at First Industrial. “In northern Illinois, there’s limited land supply and challenging access to the interstate. This is just 10 minutes north of the border. “

He says the city established a TIF district to benefit future tenants. “The city is very pro-development. We’re talking now with prospective tenants for the site.” He would not comment on the purchase price of the property.

Brokers John Sharpe and Joe Reiff with Lee & Associates; Michael Berman with Podolsky Northstar and Mike Pitts Jr., Mike Pitts Sr. and Rob Pitts with Pitts Bros. worked on the property sale. First Industrial currently owns more than four million sf of industrial real estate in the Chicago market.

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