Industrial Partners USA to build second spec building on Watkins Road

Media Mention

By Kate Klemp January 2, 2024

Originally published in Battle Creek Enquirer

By Greyson Steele

BATTLE CREEK — As the sun broke through the clouds along Watkins Road on Friday morning, Joe Sobieralski turned to face the crowd with a smile on his face.

“These are the days that are fun,” Sobieralski, president and CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited, told the crowd. “When we get to come out and turn some earth, it’s really fun.”

Equipped with hard hats, vests and shovels, local officials joined Sobieralski Friday to celebrate the groundbreaking of Industrial Partners USA’s second industrial speculative building in the Cereal City.

The new building will feature 504,000 square feet of industrial space and be built in two stages. Plans call for the building to have 32-foot ceilings, 6-inch concrete floors and 34 dock doors, with additional knockouts available for future development.

The total investment is expected to cost approximately $20 million. The first half of the building is expected to be ready for tenants next fall. IPUSA began work on the project the last week of October.

 

“This building will go a long way toward addressing the shortage of industrial space in Battle Creek, and this is a great place to do business,” Sobieralski said. “There’s tremendous demand for turn key buildings that are move-in ready and this one-of-a-kind facility will work to attract new investment to Battle Creek.”

The 34-acre parcel, located on Watkins Road along Interstate 94, just off exit 92, was owned by the Battle Creek Tax Increment Finance Authority, which is managed by Battle Creek Unlimited.

This new investment marks the second phase of a project that began in July 2020, when BCU sold 55 acres to IPUSA. The developer built a 270,000 square foot spec building on the site, which has since been completely leased by the animal health company Zoetis. The developer also sold five acres to Consumers Energy, which will be used for a future substation.

The development by Industrial Partners USA is a joint venture between Clark Logic and Great Lakes Capital.

Clark Logic is based in Portage and provides warehousing, real estate management and transportation and logistics services. Established in 1969, the company owns more than 45 properties with more than 2 million square feet of space in Calhoun, Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties.

Great Lake Capital is a real estate private equity firm based in South Bend, Indiana. It has developed seven industrial speculative buildings in northern Indiana, which now house companies including Amazon, AM General and Borg Warner.

“We are excited to continue the momentum of our 270,000 square foot Phase 1 building in Battle Creek,” Jeff Smoke, managing director and principal at Great Lakes Capital, said in a statement. “BCU has been a great partner as we seek to add modern, cross-docked industrial space to the Fort Custer Industrial Park. This 252,000 square-foot building, which can be expanded to 504,000 square feet, will be completed in September of 2024. We are ready seeing significant tenant interest for Q3 2024 delivery.”

Battle Creek Mayor Mark Behnke admitted he’s “struck by how large and impressive” IPUSA’s neighboring spec building is, and he expect the second building to be just as impressive and visible to all, “if not more.”

“This is wonderful for the Battle Creek community,” Behnke said. “With the past downturns and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am proud to see developments like this moving forward with great success.”

In support of the spec building project, BCU partnered with the City of Battle Creek to upgrade Watkins Road, which provides access to the site. The road was resurfaced and widened to add a dedicated turn lane. The intersection at Watkins Road and Mercury Drive was also widened.

The road improvements were completed in 2022 at a cost of approximately $1.6 million.

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