Majestic Realty – Badger Logistic Center

Majestic picThe Badger Logistics Center will bring Majestic Realty’s reputation for quality industrial facilities to the Midwest.

By Tim O’Connor

With 76.5 million square feet of space in its portfolio, California-based Majestic Realty Co. is the largest privately owned national industrial developer. But until now, the company has not had a presence in the Midwest. That will soon change with the completion of the Badger Logistics Center later this year.

Majestic Realty had been exploring the Midwest market for several years as it sought the ideal place to build an industrial facility. It found that site in the southern Wisconsin town of Pleasant Prairie, just 45 minutes away from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and less than a half-hour from Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.

Vice President and Development Partner Taylor Talt says the support of the local and state governments ultimately drew Majestic Realty to the area. As it researched the market, the company found many businesses that were expanding or relocating to the Midwest were choosing the southeast portion of “America’s Dairyland.” Unlike Illinois, Wisconsin’s state government is in a financially strong position and is politically stable – creating the kind of certainty businesses find appealing.

Talt praised government officials and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., a state agency, for their professionalism and responsiveness in bringing the Badger Logistics Center from concept to reality. “From the beginning stages, it was a great working relationship with the state, county and village,” he says. “That’s not something we find across our entire portfolio.” Majestic box

Wisconsin officials were willing to pass along and share information on economic conditions in the state to help Majestic Realty in planning its facility. “It was a very collaborative and close working relationship from the village and [Kenosha] county to the state,” Talt adds. “That’s something that makes things go quicker from our perspective.”

The end result, Talt says, will be a success story that Majestic Realty and the state of Wisconsin can market to other businesses. Having that success is important to Majestic Realty because the company tends to hang on to and manage its developments instead of selling them off. “We plant our flag and become a part of the communities because we are there long-term,” Talt explains. The Majestic Realty Foundation supports a number of local organizations wherever its properties are located, many of which target youth education, health and fitness.

Creating a Success Story

Wisconsin’s favorable business environment led Majestic Realty in 2012 to purchase 88 acres in Pleasant Prairie just off I-94, the highway that connects Chicago and Milwaukee. It took a few years to get the incentives and plans in place, but site preparation work began before the end of 2015 in anticipation of the groundbreaking this year. Construction on the freestanding 425,000-square-foot facility started in early May and the building is on schedule for completion in November.

The cross-dock facility will feature 36-foot clear heights, 7 inches of slab on grade, 50-by-52-foot bay spacing, 111 trailer parking stalls, 185 truck ports, a combined 370feet of truck courtyard and a redundant water capacity of up to 7 million gallons daily. “We basically built this building to check every box,” Talt says. “It’s a typically built Majestic building in order to be able to put itself in position to answer to and hit any and all requirements [for companies] that may be looking for space.”

Commerce Construction Co., a fully owned subsidiary of Majestic Realty, is acting as the general contractor on the project. Commerce Construction’s offices are located only a few doors down from Majestic Realty, which Talt says results in strong collaboration between the two sides of the company. The proximity enables constant contact, and the development team understands the construction group’s schedule targets.

Further, having construction services in-house means there is no waiting for feedback on design changes. “To have the close relationship and being able to continually update each other is a huge benefit,” Talt explains.

By handling the construction aspects of each job, Majestic ensures consistency across all of its properties. Consistency, in turn, creates better relationships with tenants, Talt says. If a major retailer leases a Majestic Realty-owned distribution center in one region and wants to expand to another, they can have confidence Majestic Realty can provide another facility to match quality and features in the new market.

Such projects have become almost routine to Majestic Realty, which has been building industrial facilities since 1948. The most significant difference tends to be in how a region’s weather impacts the construction timetable. Talt likens Wisconsin’s cold winters to Colorado’s: little work can be done when the ground is permafrost so construction schedules are somewhat compacted. Local subcontractors are handling all the actual construction work, from grading to steel erection and concrete pouring.

While Majestic Realty is in the homestretch on construction, it continues to seek the most suitable tenants for the building. The facility is being marketed to both single users and as a dividable multi-tenant space. The ever-growing requirements of e-commerce and next-day delivery make the highway-adjacent project a suitable facility for companies specializing in last-mile delivery, light manufacturing and final assembly, Talt says.

Staking a Claim

The 425,000-square-foot building is only the first phase of the Badger Logistics Center project. Majestic Realty is also planning a second, 740,000-square-foot warehouse for the site. Talt says the larger facility will have similar attributes to its smaller sibling, such as 36-foot clear heights, trucks and trailer parking, and full circulation around the structure. Those details could change as Commerce Construction works to finalize the second building’s design.

Site preparation has already begun for the second building and Talt says construction could break ground in March or April, finishing before the end of 2017.

The Badger Logistics Center is more than just another facility in Majestic Realty’s portfolio; it is a stepping stone for the company’s growth in the Midwest. The company will continue to look at other Midwestern metropolitan areas such as Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and St. Louis as it plans future projects. “We’re planting our flag here and we’re continuing to look at various opportunities in the market,” Talt says.

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