Transwestern Expands Industrial Reach in Metro Chicago with Acquisition of Epic Realty

Commercial real estate services firm Transwestern has expanded its presence in metropolitan Chicago overnight with the acquisition of industrial real estate group Epic Realty Partners.
Chip Clarke, Transwestern

Chip Clarke, Transwestern

Commercial real estate services firm Transwestern has expanded its presence in metropolitan Chicago overnight with the acquisition of industrial real estate group Epic Realty Partners. By bringing Epic aboard, Transwestern takes a place among the top five industrial real estate providers in the greater Chicago area.

“Our focus had always been to deepen and widen our existing ‘dots on the map’ [and] Chicago is an incredibly important city for us–we have exceptional people and a great client base,” Chip Clarke, president, Americas, told Commercial Property Executive. “Along with being the base of our Midwest operations, it’s one of the most strategic and industrial markets in the world.”

Rosemont, Ill.-based Epic is well-known in the metro Chicago industrial arena, and its prominence is reflected in the numbers. The list of transactions in 2013, valued at $216.7 million, numbered 225 and involved 9.2 million square feet.

Chicago has long been on Transwestern’s expansion radar and Epic–which specializes in leasing, sale, management and development of warehouse, distribution and manufacturing facilities to corporate tenants, and institutional and individual property owners–fits into the program like hand in glove. “We have wanted to broaden our Industrial presence for some time and the planets aligned to bring a talented, culturally compatible group like Epic into the fold,” Clarke said. “This addition allows us to serve our industrial clients at a much higher level.”

There’s every reason to train an eye on the Windy City area’s sizeable industrial sector. The fact that it is the second largest industrial market in the country is just one of them.

“Because of its position as the crossroads of interstate commerce, intermodal dominance and huge population, every major maker of consumer, building or business products ships to, from or through Chicago,” John Coleman, executive vice president, Industrial Services, with Transwestern, told CPE.

Additionally, the market is ever more desirable as it experiences a revival, with increasing property values, higher rents and growing demand. It’s like old times, looking at the numbers from the fourth quarter of 2013. “At 8.5 percent vacant, Chicago industrial is nearly back to the 2006 high water mark,” Coleman added.

As noted in Transwestern’s fourth quarter report, a steady increase in consumer spending has fueled growth in Chicago’s industrial market, as production and distribution activity continue to rebound.

Transwestern’s interest in Chicago, however, extends beyond the occupancy, rental rate, absorption statistics and the like; the market holds a broader appeal for the firm.

“Chicago industrial is important to Transwestern for three key reasons: first, as a national and global corporate real estate services provider, dominance in all major industry sectors across major markets is essential to creating value for clients,” Coleman concluded. “Second, a strong Chicago presence will serve as a catalyst to grow other Midwestern industrial practice groups, and finally, a strong Chicago team provides an immediate portal for Transwestern clients looking to enter or expand in this market.”