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TriStar Properties, dignitaries celebrate construction start on $30 million distribution facility

Article Courtesy Illinois Business Journal

 

EDWARDSVILLE – Rain was pouring outside the tent, but the mood under it was sunny as a host of dignitaries on Wednesday saluted the latest expansion planned at Gateway Commerce Center.

TriStar Properties has begun construction of a $30 million, 717,060-square-foot speculative distribution center, the first facility to be built on the eastern side of Illinois 255.

It brings a new angle of visibility to that portion of Gateway, which in the last 18 years has grown into a premier warehousing and distribution hub that now employs nearly 5,000 people.

The newest project, called Gateway East 717, will include development of the 53-plus-acre site and construction of a tilt-up distribution facility with 80 truck docks, a heat-reflective and energy efficient thermoplastic polyolefin roof and design/build mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems. The Class A modern bulk building will have expansion capacities to more than 1,200,000 square feet.

“Last summer we built a 673,137-square-foot speculative building and it was fully leased before completion,” said Mike Towerman, president of TriStar Properties, referring to what’s known as Gateway West. “This new building will allow us to quickly meet a company’s facility requirements and provides a strategic logistical advantage for large distribution operations.”

The project is scheduled for completion in December 2015. Contegra Construction Co. is providing general contracting services for the project. Propper Construction Service is a partner in the project and is serving as construction manager, Towerman said. Also partnering is PCCP, a private equity firm. Both Propper and PCCP worked with TriStar on the Gateway West project, he said.

Gray Design is the latest project’s architect, and DTZ will provide leasing services.

The construction of the new distribution center opens an additional 700 acres of the 2,300-acre Gateway Commerce Center for development, officials said.

Towerman said if this project goes as planned more buildings are likely to be constructed on that side of the highway.

With more than 10 million square feet of leased space, the master planned Gateway Commerce Center is considered one of the top business distribution parks in the Midwest. Located at the intersection of Interstate 270 and Interstate 255, it is home to corporate tenants including Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, Dial Corp., Ozburn-Hessey Logistics and Hershey. Dial was the first venture, opening in 1998.

Among speakers on Wednesday morning were Towerman, Madison County Community Development Administrator Frank Miles, Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton and state Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton.

So wet were conditions Wednesday morning that the mandatory groundbreaking photo had to be shot on a concrete pad, under the dry tent.

The background of the main players

TriStar Properties was founded by Rodney Thomas and Michael Towerman in 1996 to develop industrial real estate. Since its inception in 1996, Tristar and its principals, operating through affiliated partnerships, have developed several large business parks with total acreage of more than 30,000 acres, as well as purchased and resold more than 3,000 acres of residential land. During this time, TriStar has purchased or developed more than 1,500,000 square feet of office space, developed or sold land for the construction of more than 10 million square feet of warehouses and distribution centers. TriStar’s current projects include virtually all real asset classes.

Propper Construction Services provide a full range of construction management services for projects on a national basis. Founded in 2014, Propper Construction Services is an affiliate of St. Louis-based Propper International. Propper International is one of the largest official suppliers of apparel to the United States armed forces, and also manufactures high-quality apparel for the commercial military, tactical, law enforcement and public safety markets.

Contegra Construction Co. is a general contracting and construction management firm serving the education, industrial, healthcare, municipal and office markets throughout the Midwest. Contegra Construction Company, LLC. was founded by Eric Gowin in 2003. Each member of our management team has more than two decades of experience in the construction industry. We have completed some of the largest projects in the region and our clients trust us to successfully manage their most complicated projects from start to finish.