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240,000-Square-Foot Industrial Facility Breaks Ground in Southwest Michigan

PORTAGE, MI — Industrial Partners USA, is a joint venture between Clark Logic, of Portage, Michigan, and Great Lakes Capital, of South Bend, Indiana. They have been working together since 2019 to deliver Speculatory Industrial Development to the I-94 Corridor in the greater Kalamazoo Marketplace.

Completing their first site in Battle Creek early 2021, they had been working on growing their 55 acres of sites to what is now more than 280 acres of property along the I-94 Corridor. Putting together additional sites to expand in Pavilion Township, Mattawan, and Portage, Michigan, their core focus has been in gaining partners for Industrial Partners USA and building resources and sites that continue to deliver solutions into the future.

They first looked at this property back in 2020 as the pandemic was first striking and construction prices were, daily, becoming elevated by arising logistic issues and rising material costs. Breaking ground on their first joint venture spec in March 2020 was a risk they were willing to take at the time, and a risk that paid dividends.

“Our first development with Battle Creek Unlimited at 211 Watkins Road, Battle Creek, Michigan, allowed us to test the market and to build the relationships that fostered additional opportunities. We were able to select our way through over 30 applicants over the first year of construction, and today we have a successful marque project that has proven delivery to Southwest Michigan," said Greg Dilone of Great Lakes Capital.

“Having site plan approval and great timing has been a major contributor to our success," said Jamie Clark of Clark Logic. "We were able to push through the struggles that made others pause, and we persevered to become the region's No. 1 partner. Southwest Michigan First has been a big contributor to our success and reach in the area and continues to provide support for our projects and initiatives."

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Industrial Partners USA was recently awarded their Brownfield TIF for their speculatory development at 801 East Milham Avenue in Portage, Michigan. This 240,000-square-foot facility with 36-foot clear heights is the first speculatory development of its kind in Portage in decades.

“Their attention to detail, willingness to take on the troublesome sites, and ability to read the marketplace demand and opportunities has made them a critical partner of Southwest Michigan First, and they will continue to provide value through partnerships forged together,” said Jared Lutz of Southwest Michigan First. Southwest Michigan First provides site selection and business growth services to companies looking to relocate or expand into Southwest Michigan. Wolverine Building Group serves as the design-build contractor for the project.

Industrial Partners USA worked with Joe Agostinelli, Managing Director of Michigan Growth Advisors (MGA) on the incentives for the Portage project. This parcel had limited contamination from a previous use, which qualified the site for reimbursement with tax increment revenues generated by the project totaling approximately $2 million of non-environmental site preparation activities. MGA assisted with the preparation, negotiation, and advocacy for the approval of a Brownfield Plan authorizing the tax increment revenue capture.

“In an environment where both construction costs and interest rates are accelerating at levels that haven’t been seen in decades, the need for creatively structuring incentives to fill the financial feasibility gap becomes more critical than ever,” Agostinelli said. “The team at IPUSA has driven their approach to acquire logistically advantageous property and assemble a team that can deliver a finished product that exceeds the tenant’s expectations at a price point that can be absorbed in the market. Additionally, the project layered in a speculative building tax abatement under Michigan Public Act 198, which allows future eligible tenants of the building to receive a 50 percent reduction on their property taxes over 12 years.”

Bringing together the market knowledge of Clark Logic and the lending relationships and development experience of Great Lakes Capital has helped in securing tenants for their speculatory buildings. Each building starts out as a shell with all the infrastructure installed and no floor poured. They do this so they can deliver a turnkey solution to their tenant opportunities within 60 to 90 days of design approval.

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“We bring a solution to the market that many within our marketplace are not willing to bring," Dilone said. "Having a development ready shell cut, the delivery time of a final product to a third or more, and deliver the tenant into the Southwest Michigan market. Kalamazoo has been out of space for the last three years and as the market gets tighter, tenants are looking for a resource that can be delivered in the shortest possible timeline. We give them this option by already having site plan approval, approved incentives, and a shell building that just needs to be filled with their desires and delivered to perfection.”

“As we continue to forge forward with development, we are excited to see how we can become a more integrated partner with the region’s major employers and economic teams," said Jeff Smoke of Great Lakes Capital. "The Kalamazoo marketplace had already provided success, and we continue to look forward to continued growth into the future.”

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