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Want to get a jump-start on upcoming deals? Meet the major Chicago players at one of our upcoming events!

Today, we catch up with three panelists speaking at Bisnow's Chicago Industrial Summit on Jan. 19 at the Stephens Convention Center. CenterPoint Properties chief investment officer Jim Clewlow will certainly have plenty to tell us: The firm plans to invest about $500M in acquisitions and new development by the end of FY '12. (Gotta get those deals in just under the wire for the apocalypse.)
The Oak Brook-based owner-operator (a wholly owned subsidiary of CalPERS focused on logistics and industrial investment) recently completed or is developing 1.3M SF in five warehouse/distribution centers around Joliet. CenterPoint built two intermodal facilities there to service the Union Pacific and BNSF rail lines. Around these intermodals, it owns 4,500 acres of land where the new build-to-suit projects are going up. Jim says that Chicago—the only place in the US where all six Class I railroads converge (even Monopoly can't boast that)—will always be a relatively strong industrial market because of rail. (It's also good for CenterPoint: he expects its financial performance to outpace FY '11 by a healthy margin.)
Metropolitan Mini
BNSF rail year, metro Chicago
Here's the BNSF intermodal facility the firm developed. (It must have used Daytona International Speedway as a model.) Jim says the demand to develop new warehouse/distribution centers is coming from tenants trying to pare down costs by moving into facilities near or next to transportation nodes. That helps tighten supply chains not only for big consumer products retailers but also businesses that may not have been linked into the global transit network before. (Thank shipping containers that move from rail to sea to land again, giving players global reach.) What's needed: investment in intermodal rail, ports, and highways to facilitate the growth of US exports.
VP Jed Degnan tries to remain more steady than that bobblehead above him. The time is also particularly ripe for acquisitions as property owners seek liquidity, often to pay down debt. With uncertainty hanging over the global economy (heightened by Europe's financial problems), real estate buyers can invest at a low basis. Besides Chicago, other markets the company likes: LA (serving the ports of LA/Long Beach); New York/ New Jersey; Savannah; Norfolk; Houston; Seattle; and Oakland. It's also is very active in Kansas City, Mo. Hear more of Jim's thoughts at Bisnow's Chicago Industrial Summit on Jan. 19. Register here!