Challenge

Deliver a custom headquarters with 55,000 sf of high-finish office with a budget for a standard warehouse building.

Orbus Exhibit and Display Group was established in 2001 in a modest facility with a staff of three and two primary products. Since then, the company has experienced rapid growth and needed a headquarters to transform its work environment and allow for future growth. Orbus was seeking a consolidation of its Bolingbrook, IL and Niles, IL facilities into one productive and unique headquarters location that was reflective of its corporate image.  In addition to significant distribution and production space, Orbus required a high percentage of office space and parking for up to 450 cars.  Existing buildings meeting these requirements were extremely rare, and construction costs needed to be carefully analyzed should Orbus opt to build.  Colliers International was engaged to assist with the strategy.

Strategy

As the Chicago-area industrial market began tightening, it became apparent that there were no existing properties that met Orbus’ needs and a build-to-suit was imminent. The Colliers team focused its strategy on leading a competitive bid process among area developers of five potential land sites located between the two existing Orbus facilities. Recognizing the strong real estate capital markets, Colliers structured a development deal that used a merchant developer to build and then sell the building to an institutional investor.  The low yield the institutional investor required allowed Orbus to secure a very favorable rent.

Results

Conor Commercial Real Estate, a member of The McShane Companies, emerged with the strongest development plan that met all of Orbus’ financial and facility needs. Following the firm’s selection as developer, Ware Malcomb Architects was hired to design the new facility.  With this build-to-suit, Orbus is nearly tripling its leased space from 128,000 sf to 347,400 sf and will house approximately 300 employees for a 12-year lease term.  The building is flexible enough to meet Orbus’ future growth but is also reflective of the company’s culture and clients.  The new facility includes 55,000 square feet of two-story headquarters-quality office space, 32’ clear warehouse ceiling height, 20 dock doors, and a 20,000-sf production room.