Mann, Opus team up to develop Ingalls industrial park:

February 25, 2008

Locally based Mann Properties is stepping outside its comfort zone of small office/flex projects to develop a 140-acre industrial park and logistics center along Interstate 69 in Madison County.

Mann is teaming with Illinois-based Opus North Corp. to put together plans for 1.5 million square feet of industrial and office space near the town of Ingalls. The two developers are optimistic that ground can be broken yet this year on the $100 million project called I-69 Trade Center. A potential tenant already has shown interest, said Tim Stevens, Mann's director of land acquisition and development.

The buildings expected to range in size from 100,000 square feet to 600,000 square feet would exceed most everything in Mann's portfolio. Its largest structure is a little more than 100,000 square feet.

Once work begins, Mann and Opus will purchase the property from D.B. Mann Development, operated by Dave Mann, brother of Mann Properties' managing partner, Brian Mann.

Mann Properties formerly operated as D.B. Mann and was led by Dave for 17 years. It morphed into Mann Properties in 2001 when Brian assumed leadership and bought Dave's portion of the family business following a disagreement over the direction of the company.

The land in Madison County has been in the Mann family for several years, Stevens said.

The development is part of a growing logistics industry in central Indiana that includes AllPoints at Anson in Boone County and Mount Comfort Commercial Park near Interstate 70 in Hancock County. Positioning an industrial park between the two could fill a void that exists in the northern metropolitan area, Stevens said.

Opus North, one of five regional companies within The Opus Group, developed Airwest and Plainfield business parks in Plainfield. Airwest contains 10.8 million square feet of space and is the area's second-largest industrial park, according to IBJ statistics. Plainfield has 5.7 million square feet of space and is the area's fourth-largest park.

Mann's decision to partner with Opus represents a first for the firm and follows a similar affiliation between locally based Duke Realty Corp. and Browning Investments Inc.

The joint venture announced in 2006 combined Browning's $446 million CentraLogistics industrial park in Plainfield with the $300 million industrial component of Duke's mixed-use Anson project near Lebanon. The projects, to be developed over the next decade, were renamed All-Points Midwest and AllPoints at Anson.

"It's usually because each party thinks the other brings some resources they don't have," Stevens said. "It helps spread capital and financial risks. There's safety in numbers, and it pools the talent."

Mann made headlines last spring when the Metropolitan Development Commission denied its request to build homes and a retail center on 71 mostly wooded acres north of Crown Hill Cemetery.
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