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Young broker shifts into developer mode

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Nick Griot was a broker at CBRE for about four years after college when a big opportunity surfaced to develop some land his family owns in DuPont.

How big? Possibly close to a million square feet of industrial buildings.

Griot hired Sierra Construction and crews are busy on the first phase of Northwest Logistics Center, a 225,000-square-foot warehouse on about 14 acres at 3025 International Place.

Sierra recently poured the tilt-up panels and is expected to finish phase one around Thanksgiving.

Last year Griot helped to form Bayhead Development to do the project, and earlier this year he left CBRE to focus on development.

Bayhead is starting the first warehouse without a tenant. The second phase will be a build-to-suit project, and could be up to 695,000 square feet on 32 acres across International Place. Griot is seeking a permit for the second phase.

Bayhead wants a single tenant for the first phase, but could accommodate smaller tenants. Griot said his group decided to start phase one when the price of industrial land started escalating and they realized the project made sense financially. Class A industrial land has also become harder to come by.

Griot said some companies last year started paying developers above replacement prices for buildngs that were still in the planning stages. He said Panattoni was selling unbuilt industrial space for $85 a square foot. “All these factors led us to believe there’s scarcity,” Griot said.

Griot said they have some “high-credit” neighbors at DuPont and hope to attract similar tenants for both phases of Northwest Logistics Center. recently opened a 1 million square-foot distribution center down the street; and Dania, FedEx and Pier 1 Imports operate big distribution centers nearby. Intel and State Farm also have offices in the area. “We could potentially deliver the (next) building by the third quarter of next year,” Griot said.

Buildings in both phases will have 36-foot clear heights so items can be stacked higher. A comparison put together by CBRE shows a 30-foot clear height structure would have to be 270,000 square feet to match the storage capacaity of a 225,000-square -foot building with a 36-foot clear height. To get the same capacity with a 24-foot clear height would require 337,500 square feet.

Griot said sophisticated e-commerce firms maximize efficiency by using single-loaded distribution facilities with higher clear heights and more office space than typical warehouses.

Richard Griot, Nick’s father, bought the phase one parcel in 1999 to build a distribution center and headquarters for his car-care business, Griot’s Garage. Later a study by UPS found it made more sense for Griot’s Garage to have a distribution center in the Midwest since many of its customers are on the East Coast.

Richard Griot decided to keep the headquarters local and bought an old Coke bottling plant for it near Tacoma Mall. This sidelined the DuPont project for a number of years.

In 2009, the Griots bought another 2.7 acres adjacent to the first site to create a 13.7-acre parcel.

Nick said the 32 acres across the street became available in late 2012 during the entitlement process for phase one.

Nick said they plan to use the same project team for phase two once they find a tenant.

In addition to Sierra, the team is: Aspen Real Estate Group, development manager; Craft Architects, designer; Shutler Consulting Engineers, structural engineer; Barghausen Consulting Engineers, civil and landscape engineer; Terra Associates, geotechnical engineer; and Monte Decker of CBRE leasing agent.

Sierra is preparing to start tilting the concrete panels today and it will take about a week.

The first phase building will have a hybrid roof system with a wood deck with metal joists, as well as an early suppression fast-response fire system with a diesel pump.

The entries will be wrapped with red metal bands and the panels will be made with a form liner to give them a corrugated look in some areas. There will be 68 dock doors and the parking area will be paved with concrete instead of asphalt for a longer lifespan.

“We’re really excited to finish this project up and see where it goes,” Griot said.

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