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The Lake Business Center is shown in Munster.

A building supply company in Michigan City is expanding, and a mechanical contracting firm is adding a new Munster office.

Commercial real estate firm NAI Hiffman brokered both transactions. The local affiliate of NAI Global recently represented two tenants and two landlords in four deals that totaled more than 116,000 square feet of space in Northwest Indiana and Chicago's South Side.

Chris Gary, vice president of NAI Hiffman's industrial services group, represented P-Americas LLC in its sale of a 24,527-square-foot industrial property at 600 U.S. 20 in Michigan City.

Building supply company Richards Supply Co. bought the former Pepsi distribution facility, which had been empty since the spring, for an undisclosed sum. Duke Botthof, executive vice president of NAI Hiffman's industrial services group, represented the buyer.

Richards Building Supply Co. is a wholesale distributor of home building materials, such as decking, windows and cabinets. The supplier sells such materials directly to builders and contractors.

In the last few decades, the Chicago-based company has expanded from eight locations to 48 locations spread across 11 states.

"In Michigan City, they needed a larger facility, and we were actually relatively close," Gary said. "They're in expansion mode. The housing part of the economy is doing well at the moment."

Nationally, new single-family home construction grew at the fastest pace in five years in November, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

To keep up with rising demand, Richards Building Supply Co. will move into a larger building about a third of a mile away from its current Michigan City location.

Gary also represented AMS Mechanical Systems, which leased 5,433 square feet at the Lake Business Center at 9200 Calumet Ave. in Munster.

AMS Mechanical Systems is a mechanical service contracting firm that installs heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration for companies such as Navistar and Kronos. The Burr Ridge, Ill.-based company has an East Chicago production facility, and had wanted dedicated office space somewhere nearby where they could do sales and estimates, Gary said.

"There's been some good success in that business center, which is right in the middle of a major renovation," Gary said. "Things are going pretty good. Vacancy rates are down and nearing historic averages."

In Chicago, Gary represented both parties when third-party warehouse provider Noble Americas signed two lease renewals at Ashley Capital's 2.2 million-square-foot Calumet Business Center on the the South Side

NAI manages and leases 56 million square feet of space at 330 commercial properties throughout Northwest Indiana and the greater Chicago area.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.