(Elmhurst, Illinois) – Chicago’s industrial real estate market has remained strong throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, says Darwin Realty/CORFAC International Associate Mandy Lewandowski, who completed 44 transactions totaling more than 400,000 square feet in 2020. Many of the transactions were leases that brought buildings to 100% occupancy, and many were renewals with rent increases of 3% or more bringing additional revenue to building owners.

 “Tenants were still expanding, particularly in the industrial space, because people still needed essential products and businesses needed places to make, store or distribute them,” Lewandowski says. “Despite the economic slowdown, commercial real estate is still running strong and providing great returns on investment for its owners.”

Lewandowski’s largest lease of the year was a 46,973 square foot renewal at 2101-2171 W. 21st Street in Broadview, which and brought the building to 100% occupancy. A 35,956 square foot new lease and a renewal of the same size at 2701 S. Western Avenue in Chicago kept that building at 100% occupancy, showing the importance of last-mile distribution and the high demand for mid-size spaces close to the urban core.

Many multi-unit buildings with smaller users also benefitted from Lewandowski’s leasing spree as their tenants held on to their spaces and new tenants moved in. Lease renewals were high in 2020 because of the lack of available space in the Chicago industrial market. Some of Lewandowski’s multi-unit leasing deals in 2020 included:

These buildings, in different submarkets throughout the western and northwestern suburbs, have little to no occupancy and increasing rents as demand for modern industrial space continues to rise.

Looking forward to 2021, Lewandowski is optimistic about the outlook for commercial real estate, especially in Chicago’s industrial market.

“As people begin to feel stability again, we should see an increase in consumer spending. We’re hoping people keep small and local businesses in mind as they have throughout the pandemic so that we can continue to see business growth and new development in the near future,” she says.