First Industrial to develop 555,840 sf at I-70 & E-470

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First Aurora Commerce Center
The first phase of First Aurora Commerce Center represents an approximately $38.3 million investment.

First Industrial Realty Trust Inc. has launched its first development in the Denver market in 16 years with a new industrial park at Interstate 70 and E-470.

The Chicago-based real estate investment trust, a longtime player in the Denver industrial market, is kicking off First Aurora Commerce Center with a 555,840-square foot speculative, state-of-the-art distribution building. Representing a $38.3 million investment, it will be followed by up to four more buildings of 130,000 to 587,000 sf.

“We are excited to enhance our portfolio in the growing Denver metro area and expand our position in this key logistics submarket,” said John Strabel, senior regional director.

John Strabel
John Strabel

Strabel said a healthy national economy and e-commerce are driving strong demand for logistics facilities, while new supply in Denver has “remained measured.”

First Aurora Commerce Center provides the company “the opportunity to build quality buildings that customers demand while delivering good returns for our shareholders,” he said.

First Industrial purchased the 138-acre development site, located at East 26th Avenue and Picadilly Road, from a Blackstone affiliate for $8.8 million. Development could reach 1.9 million sf.

Slated for delivery next summer, the first building will feature 36-foot clear height, 109 dock-high door positions, four drive-in doors, 174 trailer stalls, parking for 278 cars, ESFR fire sprinklers and LED lighting. It is slated for completion in summer 2019.

“Before we’ve broken ground we’ve seen several prospects for the facility,” said Strabel, who noted there are tenants from 130,000 sf to full-building users active in the market. They include e-commerce, consumer products, traditional retailers, omni-channel networks, food and beverage and third-party logistics providers.

“We can meet the needs of a range of tenants, so we feel we’re in a good position,” Strabel commented.

Along with Strabel, First Industrial’s team for the development consists of Peter Schultz, executive vice president, and Jim Knopka, senior director of construction services. The JLL Denver Supply Chain and Logistics Solutions team of Mitch Zatz and Carmon Hicks will assist with leasing. The asking rate for the phase one building is $5.25 per sf triple net.

Brinkmann Constructors is the contractor. JVB Architect is the architect, and Kimley-Horn is the engineer.

First Industrial has been a significant owner and developer of industrial product in the metro area since entering the Denver market with a $200 million portfolio acquisition in the late 1990s. Its last development was Skyway Corporate Center, a 67,280-sf light-industrial project in Broomfield that it completed in 2002.

Denver’s strong economy, and population and job growth “certainly helped with our decision” to invest in new development, said Strabel, who added that with Amazon and other large industrial users locating in the I-70-E-470 area, “We felt it was the path of growth of warehouse/distribution space in Denver.”

“First Aurora Commerce Center is well-located to serve businesses that require convenient and efficient distribution channels as well as access to a large pool of highly skilled labor from Aurora, Denver and the surrounding area,” said Strabel.

“We feel we will bring a very quality product to the marketplace and are excited about our opportunities here,” he said.

First Industrial Realty Trust owned or had under development approximately 63.9 million sf of industrial space across the United States at the end of the second quarter.

Featured in CREJ’s Oct. 17-Nov. 6, 2018, issue

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