Construction crews start record-number of Chicago-area industrial projects in 2016

general-millsby Dan Rafter

How busy was the Chicago industrial market in the fourth quarter of 2016? Plenty. The latest research from Colliers International shows that construction crews started 29 industrial projects in the quarter, construction projects that will total 9.6 million square feet when complete.

The busy fourth quarter marks another big year for industrial construction in the Chicago market, with Colliers reporting that 21.9 million square feet of industrial projects went under construction in 2016. That’s a record number.

Of the industrial construction projects in the market, more than half — 51.7 percent — were speculative. That’s 11.3 million square feet of industrial spec projects now being built in the Chicago market.

Colliers said that build-to-suit and building expansions made up the remainder of the Chicago-area industrial projects now underway.

During the fourth quarter, 31 industrial projects totaling 7.2 million square feet were completed in the Chicago market. That brought the total of completions for all of 2016 to 85 new industrial buildings and 22.3 million square feet of new space.

This has left developers with some space to fill. Colliers reported that the 49 spec construction projects completed in 2016 — a total of 13 million square feet — still have 66.5 percent of their space available.

The largest active project is a 1.5-million-square-foot build-to-suit development for General Mills in Wilmington’s RidgePort Logistics Center. The largest fourth-quarter industrial completion was a 787,499-square-foot vacant spec project at 1101 W. Airport Road in Romeoville’s Southcreek Corporate Center.

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