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Wachovia Bank & Trust Company of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Klefstad Engineering Company of Chicago, Illinois formed a joint venture to acquire a large land site to construct industrial buildings for their own investment portfolio. Working with several real estate brokers with whom they had prior relationships proved to be unsuccessful because they couldn’t locate a site which would satisfy their requirements.

When we met, they told me that they literally investigated every available property currently on the market. They did not want to buy raw land and spend the time and money required to improve the property for future development. Since they wanted to begin as soon as possible, they required a site that was fully improved. In addition, it had to be in a proven location, easily accessible to the highway and tollway system, and of a significant size to warrant their time and investment.

Because they had tremendous financial and development capabilities, I offered them a unique solution to their problem, which resulted in one of the largest and most creative real estate transactions in Chicago’s history.

I suggested that they purchase all of the remaining improved vacant land sites in Centex Industrial Park, which was located adjacent to O’Hare Airport. Centex, the world’s largest industrial park, contained over 1,500 companies within its 2,450 acres, was owned and developed by the Murchison family of Dallas, the Pritzker family of Chicago and the Bennett and Kahnweiler family interests.

The remaining property was never on the market for sale. The owners did not need the money and were not motivated to sell. My challenge was to convince them to sell the property to Wachovia and Klefstad.

I prepared an offer and submitted it to them, but it was rejected; they simply did not want to sell. A revised offer met with another rejection. Another offer was also rejected. Several months elapsed before we submitted a new proposal. Now, there was some interest. Subsequent meetings with the owners proved to be very frustrating. They just couldn’t sell the world’s most recognized and successful industrial park, which was their brainchild.

Many months later I formulated a rationale that proved to be very beneficial to the owners. After two years of arduous and prolonged negotiations, we finally consummated this most unique and complex transaction.


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