Fort Wayne’s latest shell building demonstrates keys to success for speculative industrial real estate

As in many parts of the country, Indiana’s industrial market has experienced expansions and growth in recent years. To spur continued economic development and address the demand for these types of facilities, Fort Wayne has been developingbuild-out-ready structures for companies that are locating or expanding in the community. A recent example is the shell building currently under construction on Avionics Drive near Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA). The building reflects several attributes that are appealing for industrial and distribution tenants.

Positioned for success

From its location in Indiana to its address at 8611 Avionics Drive, the building’s setting provides a host of benefits.

“Indiana has been getting a lot of traction in terms of industrial demand,” said Jeremy McClements, senior broker, Bradley Company. “Taxes are low, transportation and logistics are important, and on the economic development side, a lot of companies are choosing Indiana over other states.”

The 20.36-acre site is close to FWA and several other large industrial facilities including Vita Nonwovens, Faurecia Clean Mobility, and Crown Lift Trucks, all built by The Hagerman Group.

“The corridor is highly visible, and there’s been a lot of excitement in that area,” said Scott Naltner, senior director of economic development at Greater Fort Wayne Inc. “The utilities are already there and it’s easy to get onI-69 and I-469 from that location.”

“The airport district has seen a significant amount of investment in five years,” added John Urbahns, president and chief executive officer, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. He also noted that recent investments in the community have contributed to Fort Wayne’s appeal.

“Companies will locate in a community if their leadership can see themselves and their employees living there,” John said. “Fort Wayne has seen significant growth and momentum with the work in our neighborhoods, riverfront redevelopment, and downtown projects—many of which have involved Hagerman. Those quality-of-place and quality-of-life investments are creating national attention and excitement for what is going on here, and that helps attract employees and fill the buildings.”

A speculative building with the right specifications

Jeremy outlined several attributes that make the Avionics Drive building appealing to industrial companies that often have specific material handling and storage needs.

“The building is 32 feet tall, has ESFR (early suppression, fast response)fire protection, and cross-dock capability for up to 24 docks in the initial footprint, opening it up for users who are looking all over the United States,” Jeremy said. “Companies are also looking for the ability to expand. This property is 150,000 square feet with the ability to add another 90,000 additional square feet in the future.”

According to Rob Young, vice president of business development at The Hagerman Group, the slab will be poured after a tenant is secured.

“This allows us to finish the floor and associated utility infrastructure according to the building’s use,” Rob said.

“This is the fifth shell we’ve done, and when we started talking about shells in early 2011, some people thought the buildings would take a couple of years to lease up,” John said. “What we have seen, and Faurecia is a good example, is that most of the shells have been occupied during or right after construction. We can help a company get to market quicker because they can pour the floor to their specifications and get up and running in a few months rather than a couple of years. Having product available is important, and having partners that are willing to invest in a speculative fashion helps us achieve that.”

A collaborative process

The Avionics Drive building is the result of a public-private partnership between Great Lakes Capital, The Hagerman Group and the City of Fort Wayne. The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission participates in the projects by reimbursing the developer for the interest on its construction loan for up to three years. In addition, the building has a graduated 10-year tax abatement.

“Not a lot of developers are willing to construct speculative buildings, but both The Hagerman Group and Great Lakes Capital have figured out how to work with cities to mitigate a portion of the risk,” Jeremy said. “That shows the commitment of Great Lakes Capital and The Hagerman Group to the Fort Wayne market. And when companies are investing their time and taking some risk, people recognize that, which helps drive further growth.”

The 150,000-square-foot shell will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019, and so far, there has been quite a bit of interest in the facility.

“The market continues to be strong and we’re talking with all potential end users to find the right fit,” Rob said.

“We’ve had a lot of inquiries so far,” Scott added. “It has been great to work with a professional team that has experience in economic development, knows both sides, and understands how to work with potential tenants.”

Individuals interested in learning more about the building are encouraged to call Jeremy at 574.876.9535, or additional Bradley Company representatives Martin Huttenlocker (260.210.3930) and Corey McGann (574.514.1166).

Web design by TBH Creative