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TIJUANA, MEXICO-Expanding its Mexican portfolio, Denver-based DCT Industrial Trust Inc. entered the Tijuana market with the acquisition of three buildings totaling more than 200,000 sf. According to DCT president and CIO James D. Cochran, Tijuana is one of the country’s strongest industrial markets because of its proximity to the US, a limited supply of developable land and its robust maquiladora industry. It is one of the company’s target markets.

Two of the buildings are located in the Pacifico submarket, which offers the largest labor force concentration in Tijuana and is close to major transportation arteries. These include a118,000-sf bulk distribution facility in the Morelos Industrial Park and a 31,000-sf light industrial facility in the Pacifico Industrial Park. The third building is a 55,000-sf bulk distribution facility in the Otay submarket, the industrial area closest to the US border, which also contains the city’s largest concentration of electronics companies. All the buildings are 100% leased.

DCT owns approximately 630,000 sf across four markets in Mexico, including a 107,000-sf development recently acquired from Mexico City-based Nexxus Capital, the company’s development partner in Monterrey. The Monterrey building is fully leased to Fluidmaster Inc. of San Juan Capistrano, CA, with an agreement to expand to 190,000 sf next August. The company is committed to acquire five additional development buildings in Monterrey from Nexxus. The buildings total 751,000 sf and include a 78,000-sf development project expected to be sold to a user.

Mexico is enjoying something of a manufacturing boom, with the automobile and aerospace industries in particular providing a major boost to the country’s growth. The nation expects to be producing three million automobiles by 2015, according to Ricardo Haneine, a Mexico City-based analyst for global management consulting firm AT Kearny. On the aerospace side, government statistics show 96 aviation manufacturer, 15 airplanes maintenance and repair facilities and 13 aerospace engineering and design companies operating in Mexico.

Mexican auto production reached two million vehicles annually in 2006, a 50% increase from 1997, and analysts believe growth will continue at a similar pace. Among scheduled projects, General Motors Corp. will open a $600 million plant in San Luis Potosi in 2009 that will produce around 130,000 subcompact cars annually, while Chinese manufacturer First Automobile Works Group will collaborate with Mexico City-based business conglomerate Grupo Salinas to build a plant in Zinapecuaro that will open in 2010 and employ about 4,000.

The $410-billion Mexican aerospace industry was projected make a $5-billion profit in ’07 after posting huge losses from ’01-05 and breaking even in ’06. In May Montreal-based Bombardier, which manufactures executive jets, announced plans for a massive complex in Querétaro that initially will build wiring harnesses, fuselages and flight controls but eventually may become a full aircraft assembly plant. Meanwhile Honeywell Aerospace of Morris Township, NJ is building a $40-million system integration lab in Mexicali to develop new technologies for future commercial aircraft. Last year, Eaton Aerospace of Irvine, CA opened a facility in the above-mentioned Pacifico Industrial Park that employs some 700 workers.

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