Phoenix Investors Brings 500 KSF Industrial Project Back to Normal

The company will kick-start the stalled development of a facility in Normal, Ill., that has sat vacant and incomplete since 2008.

301 W. Kerrick, Phase One. Image courtesy of Phoenix Investors

With its latest acquisition, Phoenix Investors will bring life to a long-dormant industrial project in Central Illinois. An affiliate of the company has just acquired the partially developed distribution and manufacturing facility at 301 W. Kerrick Road in Normal, Ill., with plans of completing the 500,000-square-foot building at a total investment of $16 million.

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Phoenix is already in talks with five prospective tenants for 301 W. Kerrick, according to a Normal Town Council document dated June 1, 2020, and expects to lease the project, which can be divided to accommodate two users, by the time construction work reaches an end. Phoenix asserts that a strong need for Class A industrial product in the area already exists. “Most notably, the nearby Rivian Plant is nearing completion, driving local industrial demand,” Frank Crivello, chairman & founder of Phoenix Investors, told Commercial Property Executive. “In addition, within 50 miles there are a number of high-quality manufacturing and agribusiness companies that are growing and seeking industrial space.”

Frank Crivello, Chairman & Founder, Phoenix Investors. Image courtesy of Phoenix Investors

Phoenix relied on Ken Szady and Krysti Galvin of Marcus & Millichap to orchestrate its acquisition of 301 W. Kerrick, an asset with a storied history. The now-defunct Wildwood Industries Inc. had already commenced construction of the industrial property in 2008, when activity came to a halt amid lawsuits and failed payments to contractors. By the close of 2010, the owners of Wildwood had been sentenced to prison for a manufacturing equipment fraud scheme, according to an FBI press release. The property later ended up in the hands of lienholders—most recently identified in McLean County records as Kreitzer Holdings LLC—who endured years of litigation before securing the right to sell the asset. Now, new owner Phoenix Investors plans to pick up where the original developer left off in 2008.

Locally coveted

The long-awaited continuation of the 301 W. Kerrick project is being met with a warm reception from local officials, and not just because of the 50 new jobs the facility will generate. As noted in the Town Council document, “Locating a major distribution center on the north side of town, adjacent to three major interstates, has the potential to create additional logistics-related development moving forward.” The property sits at the interchange of I-39 and I-55 and provides immediate access to I-74.

The City of Normal has approved tax incremental financing for the project, dubbed Phase One. The development’s approximately 66-acre site has already been primed to accommodate Phase Two, which would yield an additional 500,000-square-foot facility at a construction cost of roughly $24 million. Phoenix plans to consider Phase Two upon lease-up of Phase One.

Second nature

Milwaukee-based Phoenix Investors counts the renovation and repositioning of former single-tenant industrial facilities across the U.S. as its core business, and the company keeps a special eye on large assets formerly owned by major corporate clients, REITs or financial institutions. Phoenix’s acquisitions over the last six months include a 625,000-square-foot, partially leased Pittsburgh-area property that originally opened as a build-to-suit for Continental Can Co. and a 1.4 million-square-foot, vacant former Sears distribution center in Memphis. The company also purchased an 880,000-square-foot, one-time Amazon fulfillment center in Coffeyville, Kan., and leased the entire facility to Array Technologies upon closing of the transaction.

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