1348674106cbre013CBRE|Louisville announced a pretty big development last month regarding industrial commercial space in a Shepherdsville warehouse park.

When a company issues a press release, it’s almost always because they want coverage. So I called CBRE to get some analysis. However, between issuing the press release and fielding my call, CBRE|Louisville had been acquired by the national parent CBRE Group (Los Angeles), one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the world, with which it has been affiliated since 1996.

And suddenly the usually available CBRE executives became leery of talking about this deal. Maybe it’s the newness of its new business relationship and a feeling that everything has to be discussed and reviewed in Louisville and Los Angeles before they can say anything about anything. Maybe it’s just that all the CBRE executives were at Valhalla last week, a prime opportunity to do business as well as watch championship golf.

The facts that we know are these:

Park 480

• Tower International, an auto parts supplier based in Livonia, Mich., has committed to lease 219,061 square feet of warehouse space at Park 480 in Shepherdsville, which CBRE says is “the first lease signed in the next generation of buildings under construction in the Metro Louisville market.”

It’s also almost half of the 500,918 square feet of bulk distribution warehouse in the recently completed project.

• Park 480 is on Park Avenue, just off Old Preston Highway, less than a mile off Exit 116/Cedar Grove Road on I-65, and marketed as being just “15 miles from UPS WorldPort at Louisville airport.”

• The project is being developed by VanTrust Real Estate LLC out of Kansas City, Mo., and brokered by CBRE. VanTrust currently has a handful of new, state-of-the-art commercial facilities, mostly in the western half of the United States. Project One in Plainfield, Ind., is the closest to Louisville. Those include an apartment complex in Flagstaff, Ariz., and office headquarters in Kansas City. It also is renovating, on spec, the long-vacant Buggy Works building (victim of early 20th century technology) into modern office space at the western edge of the Arena District in Columbus, Ohio, as well as planning a spec warehouse near Columbus’ Rickenbacker Airport.

• Business First of Louisville reported that “the new facility would allow [Tower International] to have more space for stamping and welding subassemblies for sport utility vehicles. A few SUVs are manufactured here in Louisville, including Ford’s Expedition and Escape and Lincoln’s Navigator and MKC.”

• Business First reported that Tower is planning to invest $36.4 million in the new facility and create 78 new jobs during the next 15 years. Its existing operations in Bardstown will not be affected.

Kevin Grove, a senior vice president and partner with CBRE|Louisville, said he “expects demand for the space to be fairly strong because of the Louisville market’s low vacancy rate, active prospect list and strong market drivers.”

And that’s the follow-up part of the story. What does this transaction mean to, and say about, the Louisville marketplace. And, just wondering, if VanTrust is successful in Shepherdsville, might its interest in reclaiming old warehouse space close to downtown be a portent for downtown Louisville?

Few realty operations here in Louisville are as knowledgeable about the commercial industrial market as CBRE. In conversations I’ve had with them, they always have had a finger right on the pulse of the marketplace – its strengths and weaknesses, its prospects and possibilities.

I’ve liked talking to them because they’re so knowledgeable and so forthcoming.

I’m hoping we’ll be able to talk about this soon. It seems like a pretty big deal, maybe the first of several pretty big deals. And besides, I’d hate to think that David Hardy, Kevin Grove and the rest have suddenly become all corporate and circumspect, huddling inside a public relations fortress. Their willingness to share their sharp analysis of the Louisville business market has regularly allowed Insider Louisville to advance the state of knowledge in the local community.

It has been a win-win-win for everyone.

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Steve Kaufman
Steve Kaufman has been writing professionally since the Johnson administration (Lyndon, not Andrew) on all manner of subjects, from sports to city hall to sales and marketing to running a medical practice to designing stores. His journey has taken him from Chicago to Buffalo to New York to Atlanta to Cincinnati, before landing, finally, in Louisville.