Industrial developer to build distribution centers on 102-acre Country Club Hills site

Logistics Property Company plans the industrial complex on one of the largest undeveloped properties in Cook County
By Alex Nitkin |
Research by Haru Coryne
January 07, 2019 04:00PM

From left: James Martell, CEO of Logistics Property Company, and Aaron Martell, Logistics Property Company executive Vice President for the Midwest Region, with an aerial rendering of the Country Club hills facility (Credit: Logistics Property Company)

Industrial developer Logistics Property Company plans to break ground this spring on a complex in south-suburban Country Club Hills, where it picked up one of the largest undeveloped contiguous properties in Cook County.

The Chicago-based developer paid $7.1 million on Dec. 28 to acquire the 102-acre tract of vacant land near 167th Street and Cicero Avenue from Capri Capital Partners, according to Cook County property records. The site was owned by an entity of the Chicago-based Gatling Chapel until 2009.

Logistics Property Company plans to break ground this spring on two speculative distribution warehouses totaling 900,000 square feet, with another two buildings eventually planned for the site, said Aaron Martell, Logistics Property Company’s executive vice president for the Midwest Region.

The move officially nixes a lingering proposal from 2007 to build a 500,000-square-foot outlet mall on the property. As recently as last year, a sign on the property still advertised Chicagoland Outlets, which Country Club Hills officials had hoped to see open by 2009.

A representative of Capri Capital Partners on Monday confirmed the sale. In late 2017, a spokesperson for Capri told the Daily Southtown the firm was examining warehouse uses for the site.

Logistics Property Company plans to call its warehouse campus LogiPark 57-80, named for its location near the intersection of Interstate 57 and Interstate 80. Each of the four buildings will measure between 130,000 and 850,000 square feet, Martell said. Another 10 acres will be set aside for parking and potential future development.

The landlord would benefit from a tax increment financing district the city established around the site in 2007, diverting most taxes collected on the property into a special fund that can be tapped to pay for renovations and added infrastructure. The firm is negotiating with the city to extend the life of the district, which is set to expire in 2031, by 12 years.

County officials have also granted the land an incentive that lowers its property tax assessments by about a third, and state leaders last year designated the area an Opportunity Zone, unlocking another suite of potential tax breaks for investors.

Martell credited the trifecta of tax sweeteners for drawing his company to begin negotiations for the land in early 2018.

“We think the combination of the tax incentives and the ability to get into the city in a half-hour is excellent, and will be hard for any tenant to pass up,” Martell said.

The developer plans to break ground on the first two buildings in May and open them in early 2020.

Logistics Property Company owns warehouse spaces in west suburban Carol Stream and in Chicago’s McKinley Park neighborhood, and in October it broke ground on a 1 million-square-foot distribution center in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Almost 15 million square feet of industrial space was under construction around the Chicago area toward the end of last year, including 11 million square feet being built on spec, leading some observers to worry that the builders are outpacing demand. But the region’s industrial vacancy rate remains near record lows, and Chicago-area landlords leased more than 10 million square feet of new or expanded industrial space during the third quarter alone last year, as e-commerce operators race expand their “last-mile” distribution capabilities.

Logistics Property Company hired Irv Gilner of Transwestern Commercial Services and Tim McCahill of Lee & Associates to market the property to tenants.