First Industrial Takes 61 Acres in Toronto Area

First Industrial Realty Trust Inc. has acquired 61 acres of land in Vaughan, Ontario, north of Toronto, in anticipation of future industrial development. The site is located in the Highway 427 Corridor, one mile south of the Greenbelt, which circles the greater Toronto area. Toronto has seen a fairly strong industrial market recently. According to Colliers International, some 7.7 million square feet of industrial space was absorbed in greater Toronto in 2007, but the average availability rate remained the same from the fourth quarter of 2006 to the fourth quarter of 2007; 5.4 percent. Vaughn itself has been a busy submarket lately. According to Colliers, the two largest industrial property sales in metro Toronto in 4Q07 were in Vaughn. In that quarter, 41 Winges Road sold for CAN$11.2 million, and 8470 Keele Street sold for CAN$8.3 million. Tougher times may be ahead for Toronto, however. As in much of North America, Ontario continues to see manufacturing job losses, and the relative strength of the loonie against the greenback is cutting into export volumes for Canadian manufacturers, whose biggest customers are often in the United States. Chicago-based First Industrial is a relatively recent entrant in the metro Toronto industrial market, opening an office there last May. Currently, the REIT manages about 1 million square feet of industrial space in this market. All together, First Industrial owns, manages, and has under development more than 100 million square feet of industrial space across in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium.