Office furniture dealer will move to redeveloped Wood Dale office park

  • A redevelopment plan for Wood Dale's Oakwood Commerce Center calls for demolishing obsolete office space to make way for two new light industrial buildings.

    A redevelopment plan for Wood Dale's Oakwood Commerce Center calls for demolishing obsolete office space to make way for two new light industrial buildings. Courtesy of the village of Wood Dale

  • Developers plan to construct two buildings, one of which will house the new corporate headquarters of Forward Space, a Steelcase office furniture dealer.

    Developers plan to construct two buildings, one of which will house the new corporate headquarters of Forward Space, a Steelcase office furniture dealer. Courtesy of the village of Wood Dale

 
 

A furniture distributor is moving its corporate headquarters from Chicago to Wood Dale as the first announced tenant for a massive office redevelopment in the Thorndale corridor along the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway.

Developers of the long-vacant Oakwood Commerce Center have secured a lease with Chicago-based Forward Space, a Steelcase office furniture dealer, to occupy a 100,000-square-foot space, the smaller of two light industrial and office buildings that will be constructed as part of the project.

Bridge Development Partners, a Chicago real estate firm, also has identified a Wood Dale logistic business as a prospective tenant for the other, 242,000-square-foot building. The entire project will span a 22-acre property at the southwest corner of Wood Dale Road and Mittel Drive, representing one of the largest developments in Wood Dale in recent years.

The project also reflects a strong demand for new industrial space with easy access to O'Hare International Airport and interstate highways.

"The market for pure office is not there," Wood Dale Community Development Director Ed Cage said in an interview. "That's why the site has been vacant for so long, but the industrial market is very active."

Forward Space was considering moving its headquarters to other communities, Cage said, but the city lured the company to Wood Dale with a tax-sharing agreement. The company plans to invest $2 million on a build-out of the building shell that will be constructed by Bridge Development. The 100,000-square-foot space will house the new Forward Space headquarters, showroom and warehousing.

The agreement with the city would expire in 10 years -- or until Forward Space recoups up to $2 million in sales tax revenue, whichever occurs first.

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In the spring or summer, developers will demolish the existing three single-story office buildings that date to 1987. Most of the office park has sat vacant for more than eight years.

Developers plan to construct both buildings at the same time -- even though the larger one is proposed as a "quasi-spec" building. The building shells are expected to be substantially complete in January 2020.

Forward Space is slated to move into the south building in summer 2020, bringing roughly 100 jobs to Wood Dale, city officials say. Developers don't want to disrupt that business with major building construction to the north at a later date.

The project also will connect a walking and biking path to the Salt Creek Greenway Trail, a 25-mile route from Busse Woods in Elk Grove Village southeast to Brookfield Zoo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Wood Dale Mayor Nunzio Pulice cited the site's central location as one of the major draws for businesses.

"This is an ideal location for any major business at the entrance to our community," Cage said in a statement. "The property is located directly off the recently completed Illinois Route 390 with easy access to O'Hare, the Western suburbs and is one of the best sites in Northeast DuPage County."

Bridge Chief Operating Officer Steve Groetsema did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.

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