|Posted on Monday, January 13, 2003|
We Mean Business. Illinois Business.
Gateway Commerce Center exceeds growth forecast
This year has been an incredibly successful one for TRiSTAR Business Communities.
TRiSTAR and the Gateway Commerce Center were party to the largest single real estate transaction in metropolitan St. Louis for the third year in a row. The 2,300-acre business park, located in Madison County at the intersection of Interstates 255 and 270, will have 4.7 million completed square feet of industrial space by the spring, all of which has been built in the last four years.
The year 2002 was full of significant deals from companies such as Buske Lines Inc., Unilever Home and Personal Care, Lanter and Flying J Inc. Unilever's take on Gateway
"Gateway Commerce Center is ideally situated in America's heartland," said Greg Arnold, senior vice president of ProLogis, the real estate investment trust that is creating the network for Unilever HPC in the development of a 1.26 million-square-foot distribution facility at Gateway.
"We sought locations that will allow Unilever HPC to reduce supply chain costs while increasing the efficiency of its logistics operation and improving customer service," Arnold said. "Gateway's superlative transportation amenities will enable Unilever HPC to deliver its products to major retailers throughout the Midwest in one day."
Michael Towerman, president of TRiSTAR Business Communities, said Gateway's centralized location, with easy access to a well-developed transportation infrastructure and a productive, cost-effective labor pool, is perfectly suited to streamlined supply chain management.
"Its enormous tracts of flat, easily developable land are ideal for growth-minded companies," Towerman said.
The center, which will ultimately equal the size of 28 football fields, is the largest building of its kind ever built in metropolitan St. Louis. Towerman said the competition in choices for warehousing and distribution prospects includes not only Missouri, but also other areas of the Midwest including Chicago, Memphis, Nashville and Indianapolis.
"On a volume basis it's probably about three times the forecast, so it's very unpredictable," Towerman said. "But the companies we work with have so many choices across the region. All it takes is for one or two of them to go one way or the other, and that's the difference between a great year and a bad year."
For Illinois, it appears the companies inhabiting the giant warehouse site were sold on the region.
"We're pleased that the attributes of Gateway stood out so clearly in ProLogis' exhaustive national search for the best locations to optimize Unilever HPC's distribution network," Towerman said.
"Gateway has tremendous momentum," said Bryan Ziercher, a broker with Cushman & Wakefield of Missouri Inc. who represented
TRiSTAR in the transaction. "At a time when other parks in the Midwest are struggling, Gateway has 100 percent occupancy and
continues to attract high-quality, large users."
Buske's take on Gateway
Buske Lines Inc., one of the nation's leading freight haulers, purchased 25 acres which borders a 23-acre tract that Buske bought at Gateway in 2000. Buske already operates a 365,000-square-foot office and warehouse on the site.
"We are exploring the potential of expanding our building by 240,000 to 300,000 square feet," said Tom Buske, president of Buske Lines, which moved its headquarters to Gateway from Litchfield in 2001.
Towerman said the impressive number of jobs created through the materialization of the giant commerce center is just the tip of the economic impact on the region.
"So far we've created about 1,100 jobs at Gateway Commerce Center," he said. "Add to that the spin-off effect of the
temporary employment opportunities such as construction workers for area restaurants, gas and other convenience spending. The
1,100 workers represent permanent spending in the area, some even relocating to the area. On a regional basis, we've attracted
jobs that could have gone to any of those other cities I mentioned. And that's why we've made some very aggressive deals to
build momentum, which is a big part of success in developing a large-scale park."
Lanter's take on Gateway
Lanter Co., a full service logistics company that provides contract and public warehousing, has begun its third bulk distribution center at Gateway Commerce Center. The 600,000 square-foot facility is being built of tilt-up concrete wall panels with architectural reveals, 36-foot ceilings, 70 loading docks and a loading zone with a 75-foot apron. Korte Company is serving as design/build contractor on the structure.
"Because of its location and amenities, demand for distribution space at Gateway has been steadily increasing," said Al Winkeler, chief financial officer at Lanter Co. "Our two existing facilities are full and we project that the new center, the largest we've built there to date, will fill quickly as well."
"Lanter's decision to commit to a third center in less than three years is the latest affirmation of Gateway's emergence as a national distribution hub," Towerman said.
Flying J Inc., North America's largest retail distributor of diesel fuel, will build an $8 million travel plaza at Gateway - its first ever in Southern Illinois. Towerman said the facility on 27 acres will offer many "interesting amenities for truck drivers, including showers and laundry, restaurant and convenience store, truckers' lounge, and hook-ups for 300 trucks overnight with voice/data connections."
Other deals at Gateway include entering into a joint venture with Rockefeller Group Development Corp. to establish a foreign trade zone at Gateway and to "jointly market Gateway to companies who can take advantage of foreign trade zone benefits," Towerman said.
Foreign trade zones were designed by Congress in 1934 to facilitate trade, increase the global competitiveness of
U.S.-based companies and encourage foreign investment and business in the U.S. A foreign trade zone is an area deemed to be
outside the U.S. for purposes of duty collection, allowing companies located in a FTZ to defer, reduce or eliminate import
Sole 'big box' opportunity in St. Louis market
"The St. Louis region has an outstanding transportation infrastructure, with an excellent network of highways and superior air, rail, water and intermodal capabilities," said Eugene Preston, vice president of development and marketing for RGDC. "Additionally, greater St. Louis is business-friendly, with a highly skilled and productive workforce, and a low overall cost of doing business, in comparison to other regions of the United States."
After studying the St. Louis market, Preston said, RGDC determined that if a company decides to locate in the St. Louis metropolitan area, there's no better place than Gateway.
"Few distribution parks in the nation can match its attributes," he said. "Gateway Commerce Center is a location in the heart of the Midwest that capitalizes on the region's excellent accessibility to and from all corners of the U.S. and the world by road, air, rail and water. It has large tracts of easily developable land, and it has a campus environment ideal for corporations focused on optimizing their distribution network. There is sufficient land at Gateway to develop big buildings in excess of 1 million square feet, making it the only 'big box' opportunity in the St. Louis market."
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