The first phase of development at the park, to be called ProLogis Park Arsenal, will comprise more than 3.2 million sq. ft. of industrial space at full buildout, with a total expected investment of over $120 million. Future phases could accommodate approximately 6.8 million square feet of additional warehouse space.
"BNSF's intermodal facility is a vital link in the North American supply chain," said Doug Kiersey, ProLogis senior v.p. and regional director of capital deployment. "It serves as a key distribution hub for containerized goods flowing from West Coast seaports through the inland port of Chicago to markets throughout the eastern third of the U.S. Over time it will play an even greater role, as BNSF proceeds with plans to expand the capacity of its rail network serving Chicago."
BNSF operates 32,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. The company opened Logistics Park-Chicago (LPC) in 2002, offering a direct rail link to the L.A./Long Beach port system, as well as the ports of Oakland, Portland, Seattle and Tacoma. Once arriving at the LPC, containerized products are taken to nearby warehouses for breakdown and shipment via truck to retail stores and other destinations.
The new ProLogis park will be located inside a state-designated Enterprise Zone and will also benefit from a local tax-abatement program. Companies that rent distribution space inside the park are pre-approved for lowered property taxes, sales tax exemptions and tax credits for job creation. "The reduced tax structure within the park should serve as a significant inducement for companies looking to establish large-scale distribution operations in the Chicago market," Kiersey said. "We believe it will enhance customer demand at the site and spur economic development that benefits the city of Wilmington and Will County."
ProLogis Park Arsenal is located at the site of the former Joliet Arsenal, a U.S. Army munitions plant that opened at the start of World War II. The plant closed in the early 1990s and has since undergone an extensive remediation program under the auspices of the Joliet Arsenal Development Authority (JADA), which has overseen cleanup of the 26,500-acre property and its conversion to civilian and commercial use. The opening of the BNSF intermodal facility was a key milestone in the area's transformation into an industrial, logistics and distribution center.
ProLogis expects to begin site preparation and infrastructure work at the new park in the near future, with completion of the first distribution centers in the first half of 2008. Phase I at the site will include a mix of inventory and build-to-suit facilities. ProLogis owns, operates and has under development more than 22 million square feet of space in the Chicago area.