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Linbrook gets its first tenant: McLane Southern expanding into spec building

One of Brookhaven’s biggest industries needs more space and will rent out the speculative building in Linbrook Business Park, becoming the first business to operate there since the park’s construction began in 2005.

The Brookhaven Lincoln County Economic Development Alliance board on Monday approved a pair of rental agreements to lease the 54,000 square foot spec building to grocery distribution company McLane Southern, which will pay $13,500 per month for the one-year lease.

“One of our most valuable existing industries needed space, and we were in a position to help them,” said Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Garrick Combs. “It’s a good day — Linbrook is now occupied and there’s traffic in and out.”

McLane will pay rent to the Alliance, who in turn will pay Agracel, an Illinois-based industrial development company that owns the spec building. Any party can cancel the agreement with a 60-day notice.

Combs said McLane’s rental amount is not enough to cover the Alliance’s costs on the building, but the deal was worked out that way intentionally to allow Brookhaven’s developers to continue searching for long-term tenants. The Alliance will continue marketing the spec building and could displace McLane if it strikes a deal with a more attractive prospect.

Or, it could build anew.

“My advice to the board is if another long-term tenant comes along, we begin discussions on a similar building,” said Lincoln County Chancer Clerk Tillmon Bishop, president of the Alliance.

Agracel built the spec building under contract with the Alliance for approximately $2 million, with the building completed in early 2017. It was designed to be expanded easily to fit the needs of larger businesses — site work was completed for 150,000 square feet, and a long-term tenant would need only to take out the walls and extend the building if needed.

Combs said almost all prospective industries that have been in contact with the Alliance in the 18 months since the spec building was complete have inquired about renting it.

“If we didn’t have a building out there, we’d be way behind,” he said.

McLane will provide the first business in Linbrook Business Park, which was built in the mid-2000s for around $6 million — worth about $7.5 million today — with the city and county providing the bulk of the funds. The park contains 400 acres of land ready to develop, a million-gallon elevated water storage tank and distribution system, access roads and the ability to tie into the Canadian National railroad.

McLane Southern President Craig Rosenthal declined to comment on the company’s plans for the spec building. It is unclear if the expansion will create new jobs.