Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Still Growing: World Wide Technology Plans Big Expansion in the Metro East

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Still Growing: World Wide Technology Plans Big Expansion in the Metro East

Article excerpt

Less than a year after opening a shiny new headquarters facility in Maryland Heights, World Wide Technology is again planning massive expansion, this time in the Metro East.

The technology systems integrator and solutions provider has signed a lease to occupy more than 2 million square feet of industrial space spread evenly across two buildings in the Gateway Commerce Center in Edwardsville. Earth City-based TriStar Properties is the developer of the project, which is expected to cost more than $115 million and begin construction before the end of the month.

World Wide Technology already has roughly 1,500 employees working in two industrial facilities totaling 1.6 million square feet in the nearby Lakeview Commerce Center. The company will vacate those buildings, owned separately by Duke Realty and Panattoni Development Co., when TriStar finishes construction of the new buildings in April 2019.

In the new buildings, World Wide Technology will invest more than $100 million over the 10-year term of the lease and add approximately 500 new jobs to the mix over the next few years, said Tom Strunk, the company's chief financial officer.

Similar to what World Wide Technology has in Lakeview, the Gateway buildings will house the company's Integration Technology Center where employees build applications for customers and serve as its North American distribution hub.

"We originally thought we'd have enough capacity when we built out our existing facilities, but we've just grown out of that capacity and actually have had to start using other facilities on a temporary basis," said CEO Jim Kavanaugh. "We're also looking at this as an opportunity to add additional capabilities that we just can't do in our current buildings."

The lease is widely considered to be one of if not the biggest industrial transaction in St. Louis history. Katie Haywood and Ryan Keiser of CBRE helped broker the deal on behalf of World Wide Technology.

The deal will enable World Wide Technology to continue its fast growth the company reported more than $10 billion in revenue last year, up from just $2.5 billion a decade ago, and has grown from just over 1,000 employees to more than 4,600 workers during that same time span. This year alone, Kavanaugh said the company expects to add another 750 new employees across its 70 global offices.

Luring World Wide Technology to Gateway is also a major victory for TriStar, which to date has developed approximately 3 million square feet of industrial space in the business park over the last several years.

Developers typically sell off industrial facilities they build once they are leased. For instance, TriStar in 2017 sold three industrial buildings it developed in Gateway for tenants including Geodis, DB Schenker and Amazon for more than $100 million to institutional investors. …

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