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PORTAGE, IN-TCB Design Build and Tobin Development have partnered to break ground on a 574,249-sf speculative distribution center here, expandable to more than one million sf. The development, to be called Midpoint USA, will be on a 31-acre site in the Ameriplex at the Port business park at Highway 249 and I-94.

Kevin Tobin, president of Tobin Development, tells GlobeSt.com that the partnership has already shown the site to a number of prospective tenants “in the 500,000-sf range. We expect to break ground in a week or so. There just isn’t that much competitive product in this area.” The first phase cost will likely be in the $24-million range, he says. “We’ll start construction on the second-phase, 500,000-sf building as soon as we get tenants signed for the first building.”

He says many companies have relocated to the Ameriplex park here, to take advantage of an economic shift to accommodate offshoring and the use of inland ports for incoming container shipments. “Here in Northwest Indiana, we’re at the apex of three states and four expressways. The trend is to have a distribution center that can reach regional and national, and there isn’t a better place than here.”

Other benefits include a 10-year real estate tax abatement, and lower wage rates, workers compensation and unemployment insurance than the Chicago area, Tobin says. “It’s all about logistics and cost effectiveness,” he says.

The partnership hired Justin Fierz and Brian Vanosky with Lee & Associates to market the site. The building will feature 32-foot ceilings, 71 exterior truck docks that are expandable to 133 docks and 146 trailer positions. Other tenants in the park include DaimlerChrysler, Bass Pro Shops, Hosley International and the Walgreens national return center.

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