Strong demand, low vacancy rates bringing more spec building to DuPage

For DuPage County, 2016 ended with strong economic indicators. The unemployment rate was 4.4 percent - lower than both the state of Illinois and national rates, and the lowest in the six-county Chicagoland region. Throughout the year, industrial and office vacancies continually declined. Office vacancy rates are holding steady around 16-17 percent, while industrial vacancy rates are running around 5.3 percent.

Overall, the county's industrial vacancy rate has dropped by more than 50 percent in the last 10 years. In short, the industrial market is ripe for investment in DuPage County.

Space is being acquired by new businesses moving into the area as well as the expansion of existing DuPage businesses. While it's fantastic DuPage continues to have the lowest industrial vacancy rate in the region, a limited inventory can make it difficult to keep up with demand, or lure interested parties to the area. This creates a great opportunity for developers who are prepared to seize this unique 'Field of Dreams' opportunity - adopting the attitude of if they build it, industry will come.

A good indicator of the growing interest by developers who recognize this opportunity can be seen by four new spec industrial buildings currently under construction that have come onto the market this past year:

• Bartlett: Brewster Creek Business Park, Class A Industrial Spec Bldg; 167,550 square feet. Expected market delivery date of March 2017.

• Darien: 7879 Lemont Road, Class A Warehouse Spec Bldg; 185,600 square feet. Expected market delivery date of June 2017.

• Carol Stream: LogisticCenter, Class A Warehouse Spec Bldg; 381,600 square feet. Expected market delivery date of April 2017.

• Bartlett: 1323 Brewster Creek Blvd - Lot 9, Class A Warehouse Spec Bldg; 421,403 square feet. Expected market delivery date of July 2017

Naperville City Council approved plans for a new 105,000- square-foot industrial building on 11 acres near Diehl Road and Route 59. The building to be constructed at 2119 and 2151 Fisher Drive will include 3,224-square-feet of office space and parking for 104 cars and 10 trucks.

New industrial construction coming to the area will provide great opportunities for businesses looking to move or expand their operations in DuPage. Perhaps the most exciting opportunity for attracting industry to DuPage lays with a property ready for new tenants now - the DuPage Business Center.

Strategically located and planned for modern business, the property sits adjacent to key transportation routes and public transportation, an airport with a 7,500 foot runway including customs and immigration facilities and is ideal for operations of any size.

An 800-acre campus in West Chicago with access to a broad transportation network, the DuPage Business Center has a diverse communication system with accessible utilities on-site available in a variety of layout and facility designs including build-to-suit.

Choose DuPage has been speaking with several interested parties about relocating to DuPage Business Center.

DuPage County boasts a dynamic industry portfolio from premier health care facilities to national innovation centers; some of the largest and fastest growing industries include health care, retail, scientific and manufacturing.

We have earned an AAA bond rating due to our strong economy, fiscal management and healthy budgetary performance. Our community is ideal for local, regional, national and international operations and headquarters. Strong labor demographics, proximity to hotels, dining, shopping, golf and recreation are just a few of the benefits our community provides to business and industries considering relocation or expansion of operations. For all these reasons and more, DuPage continues to maintain a solid, thriving economy.

As businesses expand their footprints and vacancy rates continue to decline, Choose DuPage Economic Development Alliance understands commercial enterprise drives the success of DuPage County - and in 2017, it will have new places to grow.

• John Carpenter is president/CEO of Choose DuPage.

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