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2018 Real Estate Awards, Projects of the Year, Industrial: Big warehouse chain reaction

Monday, April 16 2018 9:57 AM
By   – Reporter, Wichita Business Journal

When one of Wichita’s largest employers began searching for new warehouse space, there wasn’t always a guarantee that it could land those expanded operations near the Air Capital.

But, as hasn’t always been the case, the immediate area had the type of facility it needed to keep the project local.

That employer was Johnson Controls, which last fall announced it had leased 400,000 square feet of warehouse and distribution space from developer Lou Robelli at the Air Capital Delivery & Warehouse in Park City.

The move into the space that formerly housed the Hayes Co. allowed Johnson to progress with planned expansion to its manufacturing operations in north Wichita that will keep it adding to its existing workforce of around 1,600 people.

Ted Branson, industrial division director at Landmark Commercial Real Estate, who helped broker the deal along with Landmark’s Scott Harper, says it was a confluence of opportunities coming together.

He says his firm, along with brokers from out of the state through CBRE Group, worked to give Johnson the options that any company wants when planning such a large project.

But after looking at what markets including Kansas City, Salina and locations in Oklahoma could offer, the space near Park City rose to the top.

“This was the only building in the market that fit their needs,” Branson says.

But it was a facility that, along with additional warehouse space developed locally by Robelli and others — including future growth expected via a new spec program through the city of Wichita — that finally gave the region some inventory to be able to offer such projects.

“I think we are riding that national wave of growth right now,” Branson says. “You’re seeing huge buildings being taken up across the country. It’s been enjoyable to see us produce warehouses of these sizes ... and national brokers have started noticing.”

And while it will help fuel growth for Johnson Controls, Brad Saville, CEO of Landmark, says its also an example of a market driving increasing work for his firm.

“It’s really exciting to see these large warehouse projects get constructed,” he says. “And I think you’ll see some more industrial coming up.”


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