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1200 Kirk St | Elk Grove Village, Il. 60007 | www.hamiltonpartners.com

Elk Grove Village's main attraction is the 5.4-square-mile Elk Grove Village Business Park. With approximately 3,300 businesses, the Park has been contributing to the Village's vibrant economic and employment base since the late 1960s. The Itasca-based real estate firm primarily responsible for developing a significant section of the Park - Hamilton Partners, Inc. - also has a long and rich history of accomplishment.

The firm's founder, a former Navy aviator named Allan J. Hamilton, spent 22 years working for Dallas-based real estate giant Trammell Crow Company. In his capacity as Trammell's Midwest Regional Partner, Hamilton relocated to Chicago in 1967 to set up one of Trammell's first offices outside of Dallas.

In the process, he purchased 208 acres of land west of O'Hare International Airport, which was eventually incorporated as the Elk Grove Industrial Park on March 10, 1969. All together, the Midwest office developed over 20 million square feet of office, retail, and industrial projects for Trammell Crow in Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis through 1987. That was the year that Hamilton and seven of his partners left Trammell Crow to form Hamilton Partners.

"Trammell Crow was shifting its focus as a result of a new partnership agreement," says John Wauterlek, one of Hamilton's original partners in Trammell's Midwest office and now Senior Partner in charge of Hamilton Partners' industrial division. "We decided it was more advantageous for us to go out on our own."

As part of the out-of-court settlement to divide up the two companies' assets, Hamilton Partners ended up with 1.4 million square feet of existing or under-construction office buildings; 183,000 square feet of shopping centers; more than 1,000 acres of undeveloped land in the Chicago suburbs; and 6 million square feet of industrial buildings including the 4 million square feet of buildings in the Elk Grove Industrial Park.

Since then, Hamilton Partners has established itself as one of the premier commercial real estate development companies in the Chicago area. It has acquired or developed more than 17 million square feet of new properties since 1988, and currently owns more than 20 million square feet of office, industrial, and retail projects. It also provides management, development, leasing, and construction services of many of these projects. Hamilton Partners has also expanded to Salt Lake City, Utah and Denver, Colorado to take advantage of opportunities there.

"Part of our success undoubtedly comes from the fact that we've all been working together for such a long time, many of us for more than 25 years," says Ron Lunt, head of Hamilton Partners' office division. "We learned the business on the job, first with Trammell Crow and then in the Chicago area."

Jim Sheridan of Hamilton Partners' retail division stresses the company's knowledge of and control of local markets as a key factor in its success. "We've always tried to control our local environments by buying larger parcels and developing a park-like setting for both our industrial and office projects, while our retail projects are usually mixed with offices," he says.

As examples, Sheridan mentions two retail projects he developed in Elk Grove Village: Elk Grove Town Center at Arlington Heights and Biesterfield Roads, and Mallard Crossing at Meacham and Nerge Roads.

Sheridan says that the quality of its projects also sets Hamilton Partners apart. "We've always built to the top of the quality spectrum. Even thought we're always limited by budgets and the amounts that our tenants can pay, we believe that higher quality construction creates greater long-term value for all of the stakeholders, but especially the local community at large."

Lunt agrees that Hamilton Partners' emphasis on quality is one of its main advantages. "We hire good architects and challenge them to come up with different designs, not just a bunch of flat roofs," he says. "We pay a lot of attention to amenities such as conference rooms, exercise clubs, landscaping, and energy conservation. Several of our buildings have been certified as LEED Gold, and we're currently upgrading some of our existing office buildings to LEED standards."

The recent recession has dramatically altered the commercial real estate landscape, but Hamilton Partners has several survival strategies. For now, it is concentrating on its existing portfolios and developing more build-to-suit office projects instead of spec buildings, in order to keep Illinois businesses in the state. As the economy improves, the firm hopes to get back to its real love of developing new properties, including perhaps some mixed-use projects.

Although Allan Hamilton passed away in 2007, his legacy is carried on at Hamilton Partners.

"He left a wonderful foundation of trust and cooperation," says Mark Hamilton, Partner and one of the sons of the firm's founder. "He was the one who first established that, and we've built our success on it."

A Product of Matthew D. Walker Publishing, LLC © 2012