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ATLANTA-Despite the general downturn in the industrial real estate market, industrial property specialist IDI has managed to match both last year’s and the previous year’s leasing record. The Atlanta-based property owner and manager closed 2.8 million square feet of leases in the first half of the year, putting it on target to exceed both last year’s total of 3.5 million square feet of leasing and the previous year’s total of 3.9 million square feet.Company president and CEO Timothy J. Gunter attributes the leasing success to strategically located facilities in top-tier markets and extraordinary team leasing efforts. “IDI’s inventory of strategically located, Class A space has made it possible to continue to attract tenants even during the market downturn,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “Additionally, our staff has always focused on providing the best possible client service, and that history of good relationships has benefited us despite the current recession.”At a time when few tenants are signing new leases, IDI managed to consummate just over 2.1 million square feet of new deals compared to 752,293 square feet of renewals. The largest new deals were a 678,363-square-foot lease with a cosmetics company at Park South at Richwood near Cincinnati and a 504,104-square-foot lease with a third-party logistics company at Crossroads Distribution Center south of Memphis. The two cities comprised the company’s busiest markets, with four leases totaling 905,568 square feet in Memphis and two leases totaling 688,238 square feet in Cincinatti. Chicago with four leases totaling 485,265 square feet and Dallas with six leases totaling 343,423 square feet held the third and fourth spots. The inventory is approximately 96% leased.According to Gunter, the company has not had to make significant concessions to attract tenants, but he acknowledges it has lowered rents compared to previous years. “[T]o stay competitive in the marketplace today, you have to offer reasonable rates and terms,” he explains. “We continue to aggressively position available inventory through our eight market offices as we have done in previous years.”To compensate for lower rents, Gunter says IDI has looked for ways to reduce costs without reducing service. “We have been looking for ways to reduce expenses all across board, both at corporate and in the market offices, and will continue to do so even after the recession,” he remarks. Among the cost-reduction techniques are several formerly controversial environmental-friendly building practices that have proven themselves over the long-term. “IDI has a long history of sustainable development,” he points out. “Our buildings include a host of energy-saving and environmentally responsible features, which in turn, reduce costs for our tenants. Beyond the recession, IDI will continue to innovate and maintain these practices of both fiscal and environmental responsibility.”Earlier this year, IDI created an investment management division to provide fee-based management to North American and European investors. The company also plans to be active in acquisition of industrial properties in the top 30 North American markets through the remainder of the year. “IDI continuously studies the markets as a standard practice for the ownership and development process,” says Gunter. “We expect some markets will become active before others, driven by local economic conditions.”He notes that IDI’s ownership structure as a wholly owned subsidiary of a global company gives it a stronger financial position in the marketplace than many of its competitors. “We view the current economy as one of tremendous opportunity for core asset investment, and have been able to take advantage of acquiring inventory that simply wasn’t available in the past,” he says.But while the company is looking for acquisition opportunities, it has virtually no development on the calendar. The company was able to complete projects that were under way when the economic crisis hit but will not initiate new developments until the markets dictate, though Gunter says there is some possibility of build-to-suit projects for more recession-proof industries such as food products and services.

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