Industrial Revolution Continues: ‘Ongoing Boom’ Draws Out Latest Crop Of Newcomers

By June 2, 2022Featured, In the News

BISNOW – It’s rare for a property type to extend a growth cycle beyond a decade.

But industrial real estate’s dominance only seems to grow — attracting newcomers while big players scrap for the materials and land they need to keep their projects moving and potential clients happy.

While longtime powerhouses like Prologis and Panattoni plow forward with their own mammoth projects — and Amazon admits that it has too much industrial space on its hands — other companies are making their debut, hoping to seize on some of the continued demand and expanding yields.

Although the industrial market has been on an expansion trajectory for years, there seems to be plenty of room for newcomers.

“It’s no secret why industrial is doing so well, with the e-commerce boom really accelerated by what’s happened in the last couple of years with the pandemic,” said Scannell Properties Director of Development in Southern California Jay Tanjuan.

“People were almost forced to order online, and many realized how convenient it was. E-commerce has huge demand, and so there’s the need for warehouse.”

There seems to be widespread consensus that the industrial heyday is far from over.

“We’re in an ongoing industrial real estate boom. We had been in an above-average growth phase pre-pandemic and obviously, the pandemic accelerated that. Post-pandemic, it continues to grow,” said RBC Capital Markets Director Michael Carroll, an analyst who covers Prologis and other REITs.

“I don’t think we’re at the end of it, it’s still ongoing,” he told Bisnow.

Carroll pointed to the nationwide vacancy rate for industrial space — 3.3% in the first quarter, according to Cushman & Wakefield, with lease rates up 15.2% on average compared to a year ago — and a rapid pace of leasing that means new spec development is snapped up as soon as it’s finished, if not before.

Among the industrial newcomers is Peterson Cos., the Virginia-based developer of residential communities, huge retail districts and data centers. Peterson took the plunge into industrial development last year, and has two projects totaling 334 acres underway in the Washington, D.C., area, with another 915 acres in the planning stages, according to Peterson President of Development Taylor Chess.

“We started looking at industrial eight to 10 years ago, seeing that as the wave of the future,” Chess told Bisnow. “We felt as though distribution was going to become a much more integral part of the retail market. But we kept getting beaten out by people buying land for data centers, so we pivoted to data centers.”

Now, as the company’s initial prediction proved out, hastened along by the pandemic, Peterson doubled down on its efforts, launching an industrial arm in earnest to capitalize on the staggering demand.

“There’s no question that internet sales and distribution were going to become a key industry eight years ago, and that’s why we started teeing it up. We had no idea it was going to accelerate as fast as it did,” Chess said.

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