Developer courts e-commerce companies with $23 million spec warehouse in Winfield
An industrial development under construction in Winfield represents a $23 million investment that officials say could lure Amazon and other e-commerce companies to the massive site along North Avenue.
Developers are building the 265,550-square-foot North Avenue Commerce Center without first securing tenants as a speculative project that inherently poses risks. But project leaders say they're confident the local labor supply, the site's visibility and access to interstate highways will attract a large-scale distributor that expects speedy deliveries.
"The type of users we're looking for are e-commerce-related or high-image users that love the exposure on North Avenue," said Brian Quigley, executive vice president of Rosemont-based developer Conor Commercial Real Estate.
"And then you've got the omnichannel companies that sell online and potentially sell here in the building. There are a lot of companies in Carol Stream along North Avenue who have antiquated spaces and are looking to upgrade."
Quigley, village officials and DuPage County business leaders held a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, though excavation work on the nearly 20-acre property began in August. The building will start to take shape with the delivery of 36-foot-tall precast panels next week.
Quigley said developers are "actively marketing" the North Avenue Commerce Center to potential tenants such as Amazon with the hope that the building will be fully leased within 12 months following construction -- an outlook based on a strong demand for new industrial space.
In DuPage County, the industrial vacancy rate has dropped from 5.2 percent to 4 percent since the third quarter of 2017, according to a newly released report from economic development alliance Choose DuPage.
"We feel that 8 percent is the natural rate of vacancy if supply and demand are in equilibrium and so there are more users in the market than there are available buildings and so that's what we're taking advantage of," Quigley said.
Choose DuPage worked closely with Conor Commercial as a site locator for a building suited for warehousing and distribution, logistics and light manufacturing once it opens in late March 2019 at the southwest corner of North Avenue and Morton Road.
Quigley said developers are aiming for tenant sizes ranging from 60,000 square feet to a full building user. The site also will accommodate 30 trailers against the building and another 14 along St. Charles Road.
"We're still building spec space in DuPage County," Choose DuPage President and CEO John Carpenter said. "That isn't happening in a lot of places. We've got a high occupancy rate, low vacancy rate and this is going to add to that inventory."
For the village alone, the North Avenue Commerce Center -- billed as the largest commercial development in Winfield's history -- could generate "a couple of tens of thousands of dollars" in new tax revenue, Village President Erik Spande said.
"I think the bigger issue is that it kind of gives us an opportunity for future growth," he said. "It also allows the village to participate in the wider community for employment and commerce, and it also demonstrates that the village of Winfield is absolutely very business-friendly and pro-development."
The village was able to extend its borders to North Avenue to corral the distribution center as a result of an agreement reached with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County last February.
The pact allowed the village to annex part of the Timber Ridge Forest Preserve that's west of County Farm Road, between Hawthorne Lane and St. Charles Road.
The annexation made the village contiguous to the vacant parcel.
"This is a giant opportunity for the village," Spande said. "Certainly, we're very pleased to offer additional business opportunities to the wider area, and we're also expanding our boundaries up to North Avenue, so it's a win for everybody involved."