NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Wisconsin-based developer, Phoenix Investors, celebrated its renovation of warehouse space in North Normal Friday morning.
Located at 301 West Kerrick Road, the space previously sat vacant for 10 years after previous developments fell through. Phoenix Investors acquired the space in 2020 and the now 1 million square feet space will provide distribution space and logistics support to companies that lease it.
The $60 million investment into the six-and-a-half football field-long property will hope to attract more businesses to Bloomington-Normal, now that there is a space designated for logistics.
“Everyone has always asked why don’t you have more distribution, this is the first phase of distribution,” said Patrick Hoban, CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council.
The project was completed in two phases by Phoenix Investors and its general contractor, P.J. Hoerr. Phase one was completed in 2021 for use by Rivian. Phase two was recently completed and could be used by Rivian or other companies.
Friday’s total completion was celebrated with a ribbon cutting.
“Phoenix committed to buying the building vacant and that’s what we do, that’s what distinguishes us from our competitors,” said founder and chairman of Phoenix Investors, Frank Crivello.
Crivello said Rivian was not initially involved in their purchase of the building. But said their involvement only helps when it comes to leasing the rest of the 500,000 sq feet.
“There’s an entire supply chain that Rivian relies on, a number of high-quality companies across the globe that provide them components that go into their vehicles, and those parties have reached out to us,” Crivello said. “So it could be potentially Rivian needing more space, but very likely could be other suppliers of Rivian (leasing the space).”
Normal Mayor Chris Koos said the property had been a problem the Town had been looking to solve for 10 years. He said an existing TIF district helped make the sale to Phoenix Investors go through easier.
“It was an important piece, as was the enterprise zone. When you get a property that sat empty like that with a partial roof on it, it’s probably harder to do that than to start from scratch,” Koos said.
It is not known yet who will lease the phase two section, but the project was good locally as Phoenix used a local contractor, P.J. Hoerr for both phases.
“We love the long-term jobs that will come with whoever ends up in this space, but also just hiring locals like PJ Hoerr to do work here that’s temporary jobs and we love to see that money stay local,” Hoban said.
Crivello said their investment in Bloomington-Normal is just beginning, adding Phoenix is in talks to acquire more space to build.
“While those transactions haven’t been completed, I am fairly optimistic that we will make one or more additional acquisitions,” Crivello said.