Ride The Rails
Yesterday's ULI breakfast panel reminded us why we covet Reading Railroad when playing Monopoly. Even with planes and automobiles, Chicago will always be a hub for freight traffic because of the industrial sector's reliance on trains. The breakfast panel, "State of the Industrial Market," was silent on why your little sister insisted on putting hotels on Baltic Ave.
Panelists Lee and Associates' Ronan Remandaban and ProLogis'John Picchiotti, above, were joined by Center Point's James Clewlow and Colliers Bennett and Kahnweiler's Charles Canale. James pointed out that there is an almost unconstrained amount of land available in south and west suburbs, but John countered that most companies no longer need as much land because manufacturing and distribution aren't as closely tied as they used to be. "You used to build things in the building next door to where you distributed them. Now, Chicago is a good place for distribution because of its location. It's the intersection of all the major train lines," he says.
Charles added that even with all the overseas products—Chicago is the third largest port in the world—not many companies are looking for spec buildings now: "We're seeing people start to consolidate and there's no rise in rents." Areas along I-80 and Central DuPage dropped below $2 net/square foot, he says. "Pre-Nixon rates."
Crown Community Development's Theresa Frankiewicz kicked off the event by telling the group about upcoming ULI events, including the Young Leaders Group networking night at the Elephant and Castle on May 7. The May ULI breakfast will focus on retail topics.