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Time To Build Again?


Infill land sites are a hot commodity and ripe for development. (Hardhats aren't just for Village People cover bands anymore.)


We'll hear more from The Missner Group president Barry Missner (snapped with his future Blackhawk) at Bisnow's Chicago Construction & Development Summit on Nov. 19. The company is in early development on three sites—two three-acre sites on the North Side (3500 N Spaulding and 3050 N Rockwell) and 8.5 acres in Aurora, where it'll build a 150k SF multi-tenant industrial spec building. The city sites will most likely be build-to-suits for anyone from wholesalers to recreational firms, he adds, given Chicago's diverse user spectrum.


"We're a little more optimistic about holding land and developing now," Barry says. In the city, they've partnered Missner's construction and investment expertise with Baker Development Corp's experience navigating the tricky zoning and entitlement process. (We'd rather be lost in a corn maze at night.) For construction, Barry says food-service companies, medical, and automotive are some of the most active (Missner just completed a 41k SF MOB for the Illinois Bone & Joint Institute at 2923 N California, above). With less aggregate work than '07, construction is very competitive for a contractor, with tight margins. But quality contractors like Missner continue to prove that construction is not a commodity, Barry tells us.


Going forward, Missner is more comfortable with risk investments, be it value-add or ground-up projects. "The timing for investment is good," he says (right, at an Association of Industrial Real Estate Brokers golf outing), citing a favorable formula of demand and pricing. (They're a cute couple. Meant for each other.) Plus most real estate trading is institutional quality, since there are less investors willing to take on the risk with the capital to pull off a deal. Barry doesn't expect interest rates to move materially higher in 2014 and says rents could creep up as the lack of supply catches up. Just back from a vacation to Paris and Amsterdam with his wife, Barry's studying up on lacrosse to coach his eight-year-old daughter's team.