Amazon’s big adventure in the Chicago industrial market

In the last 6 months, the e-commerce giant leased or acquired 3.4M sf of warehouse space in the suburbs, and a has another deal in the works

Chicago /
Mar.March 02, 2020 04:00 PM
Jeff Bezos and from left: 24101 South Bradley Street, 315 South Hicks Road, 1800-1825 North 5th Avenue  and 3639 Howard Street (Credit: Bezos via Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images; 24101 S. Bradley via Venture One; 3639 Howard via Hillwood Investment Properties; 315 S. Hicks and 1800-1825 N. 5th via Google Maps)  

Jeff Bezos and from left: 24101 South Bradley Street, 315 South Hicks Road, 1800-1825 North 5th Avenue  and 3639 Howard Street (Credit: Bezos via Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images; 24101 S. Bradley via Venture One; 3639 Howard via Hillwood Investment Properties; 315 S. Hicks and 1800-1825 N. 5th via Google Maps)

Amazon has been gobbling up warehouse space in the Chicago-area for a few years now, but over the last six months the e-commerce giant has been in overdrive.

Since September, the Jeff Bezos-led behemoth has inked four leases and acquired a fifth property for a total of over 3.4 million square feet it will occupy or build out. The company is also in talks to buy a sixth property in Pullman it intends to develop into a warehouse.

All but the Pullman deals are for space in the suburbs. But even when the Everything Store isn’t involved in a deal, it is being considered for one. That’s the case with the long-vacant former Wrigley gum factory in Bridgeport, which is getting a $23 million makeover. Amazon’s name has been thrown around as an ideal tenant for the 237,000-square-foot property, according to a recent report.

Amazon’s effort to nail down last-mile distribution centers around the Chicago suburbs is in line with its leasing strategy, which has made it the biggest commercial tenant in the country.

Here are Amazon’s biggest warehouse deals over the last six months.

Downers Grove | 504,000 sf
Palatine | 162,000 sf

Amazon’s most recent lease deals in the Chicago area were for over 660,000 square feet last month. The Downers Grove lease includes a pair of warehouses in an industrial park next to Interstate 355 and Interstate 88. One of the properties is 291,000 square feet and the other is 213,000 square feet.

The new warehouse at 315 S. Hicks Road in Palatine will be built by Conor Commercial Real Estate and will replace the former H.B. Fuller factory on the property. It is slated to be completed in September.

Bolingbrook | 825,000 sf

Amazon paid $51 million for 119 acres of land it intends to develop into the 825,000-square-foot fulfillment center. The property is the site of a former amusement park and would require a zoning change if the company is approved for construction. But Amazon’s presence has sparked backlash from Bolingbrook’s mayor, who said he objected to the low salaries at the massive facility, and the traffic concerns.

Pullman | 150,000 sf
In late January, Amazon was nearing an agreement to pay $60 million for a 40-acre distribution center complex. Alderman Anthony Beale confirmed the e-commerce giant had expressed interest in building a 150,000-square-foot warehouse on the former Ryerson Steel property. The purchase would require a county property tax abatement, to be approved by the City Council.

Chariot Logistics Center | 623,000 sf | Melrose Park
Amazon signed this lease in early January at the new distribution center at 1800-1825 North 5th Avenue. Nearly completed at the time of the signing, the facility includes three buildings. Atlanta-based Ridgeline Property Group owns the property, which was the former site of the Maywood Park harness racing track that closed in 2015.

Crossroads 55 | 1.1 million sf | Channahon
Amazon inked this giant lease last October, which will be in the sprawling Crossroads 55 business park at 24101 South Bradley Street. The developer is Rosemont-based private equity fund Venture One Real Estate, which already has a 1 million-square-foot business park there. The Amazon warehouse, about 50 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, is expected to be completed by October 2020.

Skokie Commerce Center | 237,000 sf | Skokie
Amazon inked this lease at Skokie Commerce Center in September, marking the start of the e-commerce giant’s recent push into the Chicago market. Texas-based Hillwood Investment Properties owns the warehouse at 3639 Howard Street. The last-mile facility is 15 miles north of downtown Chicago. Cushman & Wakefield marketed it.


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