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URBANCREST, OH-Pilkington North America Inc. has agreed to lease the entire 401,348-sf Opus II distribution building here from Opus North Corp. The company, which manufactures glass for the automotive and building industries, will occupy the facility, in the Big Run Industrial Park, by late November.

Though the deal effectively fills the entire spec building that Opus North Corp. completed early this year, the Columbus industrial market in both this Southwest Columbus market and the Southeast Columbus market has been disappointingly slow, says Joe Williams, a real estate director with the company. Opus I, about 500,000 sf, is only 50% leased by McKesson Medical-Surgical. In the Southeast, Opus’ newest 500,000-sf Rickenbacker VII spec distribution building sits vacant.

“I think everyone was banking on quick activity after Norfolk Southern finished their intermodal facility in Rickenbacker,” Williams tells GlobeSt.com. “I think in the long term, the intermodal will be extremely positive for the market, but in the short term, in part because of the national economic issues, we’re not seeing the lease velocity of years past. Also, the distribution industry is patterned after the retail industry, which is down this year as well.”The Southwest market is about 14.3% vacant, according to a second quarter market report by Grubb & Ellis. The Southeast market is at 15.2% vacant, the company said.

The reason Pilkington leased in Big Run is because that area doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of Rickenbacker, Williams says. The Southwest market is smaller, and more open to new companies coming in, he says.

Plus, Big Run is located right off the Route 62 exit of Interstate 270. “We have unbeatable access…with a highway exit ramp that feeds directly into the park,” said Bill Waldron, manager of standardization at Pilkington.

The Opus II building features 32-foot clear heights, 48 exterior docks, three drive-in doors and parking for 129 cars, as well as 20,000 sf of office space. Williams declined to provide the lease rate for this deal, but said the asking rate in Opus I is about $3.25 per sf, net.

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