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April 27, 2012

Liberty Property Trust Signs 316 KSF Industrial Lease Outside Chicago

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

With industrial leasing activity continuing at a brisk pace in metropolitan Chicago, Liberty Property Trust was recently able to fill up a 316,200-square-foot space at a Liberty Business Center building in Aurora in one fell swoop.

Liberty snagged xpedx, a packaging and-printing supplies distributor, for the sizeable chunk of space at 901 Bilter Rd. a 607,800-square-foot building that made its debut 35 miles outside of Chicago in the Fox Valley submarket in 2005. xpedx will set up shop in the facility, relocating from its current home in Glendale Heights, following completion of fit out this summer.

But xpedx was not the only business that signed papers at 901 Bilter last week. Liberty secured a commitment from Rockpoint Logistics, a long-time tenant in the building, to expand its lease by approximately 72,300 square-feet for a total occupancy of nearly 292,600 square feet.

It’s nice to have a full house, and such is now the case for Liberty at 901 Bilter. With the xpedx and Rockpoint agreements, the property is now 100 percent leased. “As the economy continues to trend higher and with stability, we have seen interest continue to rise on the larger industrial spaces,” said Don Schoenheider, a vice president with Liberty. “Those spaces have been absorbed very quickly over the past six to nine months. And, the truth is that good locations with access to quality, affordable labor tend to drive those decisions.” The REIT’s owned and managed portfolio of industrial assets in the Chicago/Milwaukee industrial corridor encompasses more than 6.6 square feet.

Liberty relied on Colliers International for representation in both transactions, while xpedx and Rockpoint turned to Hartford Associates and Newmark Knight Frank/Epic, respectively.

Completion of the two deals in such quick succession at 901 Bilter is indicative of the current climate in the Chicago industrial market. Leasing activity in the first quarter totaled 9.2 million square feet, a notable jump over the quarterly average of 8.1 million square feet, according to a report by Colliers. The Fox Valley submarket is proving particularly popular. The vacancy rate dropped 70 basis points to 9.86 percent in the first quarter, leaving the 12.26 percent vacancy rate in the first quarter of 2011 a distant memory.