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VAUGHAN, ONTARIO-First Industrial Realty Trust has purchased 61 acres of land for future development in the Toronto market. Based in Chicago, the company specializes in industrial real estate and supply chain properties. Company officials would not disclose the purchase price.

“As the fourth largest industrial market in North America, Toronto is a critical distribution hub for Ontario, Northwestern Quebec, and the Northeastern US,” company spokeswoman Anne Barer tells GlobeSt.com “There are excellent opportunities for investment due the strong demand for industrial space and limited vacancy in the market.

First Industrial purchased the land as a future development site to accommodate demand for build-to-suit and speculative distribution centers or other industrial facilities. The parcel is located in the emerging Highway 247 Corridor, one mile south of the Greenbelt, which circles the Greater Toronto area. “Due to its proximity to the major highways and Canadian Pacific Railroad’s largest intermodal facility, this land site is ideally located to serve customers’ supply chain needs in this market,” says David Carreiro, regional director for First Industrial’s Toronto office.

The acquisition is First Industrial’s first land investment in the Toronto market. However it has purchased buildings in the area. In 2005 and 2006, it purchased four Toronto buildings through sale-leaseback portfolios, according to Barer. In total, First Industrial owns, manages, and has under development more than 100 million sf of industrial across more than 30 markets in the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium.

First Industrial has increasingly been exploring opportunities in Canada. In January, First Industrial formed a new $285-million joined venture, called FirstCal Industrial Canada, with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

The new venture will invest in a wide range of industrial real estate that is projected to benefit from several growth trends: rising international trade, growing demand among customers to reconfigure their supply chains, and increasing use of intermodal facilities to transport goods. Investments will be made in strategically located land parcels for build-to-suit and speculative development, as well as acquisitions of industrial facilities to be redeveloped, repositioned and leased. CB Richard Ellis Investors is the advisor to CalSTRS on this venture.

“The Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton markets offer multiple investment opportunities ranging from new development to acquisitions due to strong demand and limited vacancies in these markets,” says Johannson Yap, First Industrial’s CIO.

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