Deals of the week

Biodiesel company acquires terminal in Port of Milwaukee, Unified Solutions renews 277,000-square-foot lease, Irgens purchases Brookfield office complex.

Biodiesel company acquires terminal in Port of Milwaukee
Innovation Fuels
, a rapidly emerging, New York-based renewable fuel company that manufactures, markets, and distributes biodiesel fuel to customers around the world, has closed on the purchase of a large terminal on 10 acres of land in the Port of Milwaukee.

The terminal will have the capacity to store 310,000 barrels (43,000 metric tons) of biodiesel and other renewable fuels into and out of the Midwest.

The project was financed by Securant Bank & Trust, a commercial bank based in Milwaukee.

"We feel very strongly about the renewable fuels sector and understand the strategic importance for Innovation Fuels to establish a solid base here in the Midwest and Milwaukee in particular," said Spencer Mather, vice president of Securant Bank & Trust. 

The terminal, originally built as Shell Oil’s Milwaukee headquarters in the 1950s, includes a 20,000-square-foot warehouse, executive offices and a garage. The site features existing truck and rail loading infrastructure, with excellent highway access and is served by two Class I railways, the Union Pacific Railroad and the Canadian Pacific Railroad.

In addition, the Port of Milwaukee has international shipping access via the St. Lawrence Seaway and can receive river barge cargo via the Mississippi. The facility also has an idled connection to the Westshore petroleum pipeline, which could be used to bring in diesel and gasoline to the terminal for blending with renewable fuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol.

"This acquisition provides Innovation Fuels with direct, deep-water access to the lucrative Great Lakes and Northeast markets as well as to international ports, making the Port of Milwaukee property one of the keys to our global strategy," said John Fox, chief executive officer for Innovation Fuels. "We can now easily transport finished product from Midwestern biofuels producers to virtually anywhere on the East Coast of the United States as well as to our international customers."

"We are both simplifying and streamlining the ethanol and biodiesel logistical and distribution process," said Richard "Hardy" Sawall, senior vice president of midwest operations for Innovation Fuels. "Being able to store renewable fuels at the Port of Milwaukee site and having direct access to a refined petroleum pipeline represents a unique opportunity for us to seamlessly blend our sustainable biodiesel into the regional diesel fuel market."

Sawall said the company plans to create 30 to 40 jobs at the terminal and to invest $15 million to $20 million to upgrade the infrastructure at the site.

Innovation Fuels’ Research and Development center is studying next generation technology and feedstocks, including jatropha, pennycress and algae – crops that don’t divert resources away from feeding people.

Unified Solutions renews 277,000-square-foot lease
Unified Solutions Inc.
, a contract packaging firm, recently renewed its 277,000-square-foot lease at 9801 80th Ave. in the Lake View Corporate Park in Pleasant Prairie. The company is headquartered in the building and uses about 70,000 square feet for manufacturing, 203,000 square feet for warehouse operations and 4,000 square feet for office space. The building is owned by Malvern, Pa.-based Liberty Property Trust. "We consider it a vote of confidence in our properties and service when a tenant renews, and we are pleased that USI will remain a tenant for years to come," said Neal Driscoll, director of leasing and development for Liberty Property Trust. "Overall, our occupancy rate remains high, which we believe is due to a powerful combination of high tenant satisfaction with Liberty and a degree of economic uncertainty."

Liberty Property Trust has other spaces available for lease in southeastern Wisconsin. The firm has 30,500 square feet of space available at 2440 W. Corporate Preserve Dr. in Oak Creek. It is building a 240,000-square-foot industrial building at 8691 109th St. in Pleasant Prairie that will be available in April. The company also has 50 acres of vacant land in Sturtevant, where it plans to eventually develop 800,000 square feet of industrial space in multiple buildings.

Irgens purchases Brookfield office complex
Wauwatosa-based Irgens Development Partners LLC purchased the 49,062-square-foot two building office complex at 16620-50 Bluemound Road in Brookfield from Liberty Property Trust. The complex, formerly known as the Liberty Property Trust Center, has been re-named Bluemound Crossings.

The sale price was not disclosed. Kevin Armstrong and Kurt Smith of CB Richard Ellis represented Liberty Property Trust in brokering the sale.

“We were able to acquire this asset below reproduction cost," said Jason Luther, vice president of Irgens Development. "In turn, we’ve positioned the project to be able to extend this value to prospective tenants by offering competitive lease rates below market. Improvements and upgrades to the building and property will further enhance the appeal of this property.”

Current tenants in the complex include Ameriprise Financial, Access Endodontics, Sundance Vacations, and Wisconsin Laser Eye. Irgens is offering 1,325 to 12,804 square feet of office spaces for lease in the complex.

Irgens plans to make renovations throughout the property including updates to the common area corridors and restrooms, electrical/lighting and HVAC systems to be more energy efficient and to comply with EnergyStar practices. Exterior updates beginning in the spring will include significant landscape enhancements, repair to the brick facade, and parking lot repair. Irgens will also apply for Green Globe certification from the Green Building Initiative for the property once renovations are complete.

“Not only is energy management good for the environment but it can produce significant savings for our tenants through lower operating expenses further differentiating our project from competitive available space in the market,” said Luther.

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