CA Ventures launches $500M industrial division, appoints key executive

Chicago-based CA Ventures announced an expansion of the firm’s global, multi-sector platform through the launch of CA Industrial, a new division that will pursue speculative development and acquisition opportunities throughout the U.S. Leading CA’s expansion in the sector will be CA chief development officer Sean Spellman and Jim McGill, a 24-year industrial real estate veteran who has joined the team as executive vice president of CA Industrial.

“We go where the opportunities are, and with record-low vacancy in markets across the country, we believe the industrial sector has a lot of runway as capital continues to pour into the sector,” said Tom Scott, CEO of CA Ventures. “Using data-driven metrics to guide market, product and site selection, we will leverage organizational synergies from our other business lines, along with the expertise of both Sean and Jim, to expedite deal execution as we rapidly yet strategically grow the industrial portfolio.”

Leveraging CA’s vertically integrated team and longstanding relationships within the commercial real estate industry, CA Industrial plans to invest $500 million in the logistics and distribution space over the next five years. CA Industrial will initially focus on the central U.S., highlighting distribution networks that support regions of sustained employment and population growth.

McGill brings more than two decades of experience in the industrial sector from his positions with McShane Development Company, and Prologis Inc., where he most recently served as managing director, responsible for capital deployment activities in the central region, which included Midwest states as well as Texas. Throughout his career, he has managed projects totaling 24 million square feet and valued at over $1.5 billion.

A member of several industry organizations, including the Association of Industrial Real Estate Brokers, the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors and the National Association of Industrial & Office Properties, he holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from Iowa State University and master’s degree in finance from the University of Iowa.

“I am excited to join CA Ventures as the company embarks on this aggressive expansion in markets I’ve come to know well over the past 20 years,” said McGill. “CA’s strong balance sheet, entrepreneurial culture and deep relationships with capital partners who are excited about investing in and growing this new initiative positions the firm to make immediate inroads into the industrial space as demand for last-mile facilities continues to grow. As vacancies are at all-time lows in nearly all markets and land is becoming scarcer, we believe that demand will continue to outpace supply for the immediate future.”

As chief development officer of CA Ventures, Spellman leads all development and construction activities across the student living, senior living and residential verticals, as well as the newly launched industrial division. Prior to joining CA, Spellman was the vice president and general manager of Opus Development Company.

He previously held positions with Northern Builders Inc. and McShane Development Company, where he worked with McGill. During Spellman’s 20-year career, he has managed the development, acquisition and leasing of over 12 million square feet of industrial, distribution and logistics facilities valued at over $1 billion.

“The industrial segment continues to outperform other asset classes and there is no slowdown in sight, particularly in the logistics hubs our firm is targeting with this initial $500 million investment,” said Spellman. “CA Industrial is already pursuing several opportunities that we hope to announce soon, and we’re fortunate to have partners—many of whom we’ve worked with in other sectors—who know CA and our ability to get deals done, regardless of property type or location.”

CA Ventures has rapidly ascended from a student housing-focused company to a global real estate investment conglomerate boasting the delivery of 30,000 student housing beds, 3,000 senior living units, 3,000 multifamily units, 500,000 square feet of retail within its mixed-use communities as well as the introduction of limited-service hotel offerings. The firm has started a construction division and, in February 2018, announced plans to expand its international business line in Europe, with an investment of $500 million to develop purpose-built student housing and multifamily residential communities.