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CHICAGO-Two companies will move in this month to 52,000 square feet at the 126,000-square-foot former Jays Foods plant, at 825 E. 99th St. Internet, phone and cable TV service provider Wide Open West LLC leased 32,000 square feet, while G. W. Berkheimer Co., which supplies heating and cooling equipment, will take 20,000 square feet. The building has been vacant since April, when the plant closed down after the company was bought out of bankruptcy by Hanover Inc.

“When Jays moved out, we thought about how to reoccupy the buildings,” says Daniel Lukas, a principal with Structured Development. “We thought it made the most sense to break it into smaller units for smaller tenants rather than finding another large user. The property has great visibility to the highway with 150,000 cars passing each day.”

The building was bought for around $2 million in 2005 by Structured, which bought the plant from Jays in a sale-leaseback arrangement, according to Lukas. “We’ve been working on rehabbing the building, dividing the spaces up and bringing them up to current code,” Lukas tells GlobeSt.com. “The plant was built in the 1950s and nothing had been done to it since then, so we’ve been upgrading the AC, electrical and fire systems and bringing everything up to standards.”

Jones Lang LaSalle has been marketing the space. Lukas declined to comment on the lease rates for the space, but said they were competitive with other rates in the area. The plant is located in the far south side of the city, where asking lease rates range from around $4 to $8 per square foot, net, according to Cushman & Wakefield market research. “There’s not a lot of vacancy on the south side of Chicago,” Lukas says. “There’s still a pretty strong demand for 20,000-square-foot to 30,000-square-foot users.”Structured Development also owns another building also vacated by Jays – a 110,000-square-foot facility at 1001 E. 99th St. on the same 14-acre property. That building is currently vacant, but Lukas says there are several parties interested in leasing it. “There’s access to the highways and a good solid workforce with strong residential neighborhoods just to the north and south of the property, so employees can walk to work,” Lukas says.

“There’s lots of space and truck access, and this has historically been a good area for light industrial uses. It’s a good center of operations because it’s close to downtown and accessible to the suburbs, and another thing attractive to users with a lot of employees is the almost 500 parking spaces.”

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