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Integrating WELL into Industrial Properties

Originally published by Heath Abramsohn in the Spring 2020 Issue

The Rockefeller Group Logistics Center in Piscataway, New Jersey, opened in October 2019. It marked the culmination of four years of collaboration between Piscataway Township, Middlesex County and the companies involved with the project. With five buildings totaling 2.1 million square feet across 228 acres, the effort transformed a former brownfield site into a productive asset that should create more than 1,500 permanent jobs.

However, for the commercial real estate industry, an especially newsworthy aspect of this $250 million project could be the introduction of a concept that has the potential to revolutionize the way developers and users approach industrial space.

One of the park’s five buildings will not only be LEED Platinum but will go a step beyond by seeking WELL certification. Once certification is complete, it will be only the second WELL-certified U.S. industrial building, and the first such building in the world to achieve both LEED Platinum and WELL certifications. That means that the facility is not only energy efficient and environmentally friendly; it is also healthy for the people who work there.

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Industrial Intensification Grows Up

As e-commerce and technology push industries to evolve, businesses are placing greater importance on integrated workspaces. These are places where design, manufacturing, distribution and showroom activities occur within a single building.

At the same time, companies must deal with land supply constraints, increases in space demand, and economic and population growth. These trends are driving new opportunities for industrial lands intensification, such as multilevel developments (sometimes referred to as “vertical” or “stacked”), while challenging old planning regulations.

Industrial properties are no longer single-story buildings located on the urban fringe. New forms of industrial intensification provide more space for companies to expand and boost employment growth within communities.

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Upcoming Webinar: What’s Next for the Dynamic Industrial Market?

Whether you are developing, investing or brokering industrial real estate, you know the product has been hot and continues to expand. E-commerce, last-mile delivery, two-story urban distribution centers and more continue to shape all aspects of the multifaceted industrial market.

Join NAIOP on Monday, April 20th and get the inside track on upcoming opportunities in the sector with Dr. Hany Guirguis, Professor, Economics & Finance, Manhattan College and Dr. Tim Savage, Clinical Assistant Professor, NYU SPS Schack Institute of Real Estate. They will provide insights and data from the new NAIOP Industrial Space Demand Forecast, identify linkages between overall economic activity and the demand for industrial real estate, and engage in a live Q&A session with attendees.

Modern Industrial Development On-demand Course

The industrial warehouse of today has come a long way from its basic “big box” predecessor. This course provides professionals with an understanding of the components of the modern industrial warehouses being developed today, and an overview of the steps involved in the ground-up development of these industrial buildings. Explore the roles, analytical tools used, critical decisions, tasks, risks and pitfalls that apply at each step of the industrial development process. The course begins with an overview of the product type, then moves on to niche topics including infill development, cold storage and the supply chain.

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What Will Industrial Development Look Like Post COVID-19?

Originally published on April 1, 2020, by ED KLIMEK, AIA, NCARB

Commerce had begun to change before the outbreak of COVID-19; from the exponential trajectory of e-commerce to the rise in consumer demand for more immediate goods to the rise of urban industrial development to fulfill last-mile needs. The unknowns of this novel virus have accelerated that change to a tipping point at which the structures of commerce, and the development that supports it, maybe altered for good. This crisis has exposed the strengths and weaknesses of the market, and in doing so proved the necessity of a resilient supply chain. What will new commerce look like and what will be the industrial development response to support it? Some of this answer may lie in examining the world’s largest commercial enterprise, a company that had already set change in motion, and the one company that may have grown the most as a result of demand driven by the impact of COVID-19: Amazon. Through the lens of Amazon’s keys to success, we can see a path forward for industrial development to be part of the resilient supply chain.

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Making Multistory Industrial Work

Posted on October 10, 2019

By Kathryn Hamilton

E-commerce is driving growth in neighborhoods where malls used to stand tall, and multistory is the name of the game in industrial development today. In Brooklyn, an 18-acre site in the Red Hook district will be the future home to a four-story, 1.3-million-square-foot distribution center – the largest multistory warehouse in the U.S. It’s groundbreaking in its scope and design, but not without its own issues. So what are the challenges with multistory and how can developers make it work? A panel at NAIOP’s I.CON East 2019 sought to answer the tough questions.

Leslie Lanne, managing director with JLL, said the primary driver behind multistory is getting as close as possible to the consumer base. This proximity is more than just mileage – it’s the time it takes to get the goods to the consumer. For example, a warehouse in New Jersey is located only five miles from Brooklyn, but it can be tough to achieve a trip from the warehouse to consumers and back in less than two hours.

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Industrial Demand Forecast Decreases as Economy Slows

Posted on August 19, 2019

By Dr. Hany Guirguis and Dr. Joshua Harris

The NAIOP Research Foundation has published the NAIOP Industrial Space Demand Forecast for Q3 2019.

Key Takeaways

  • The forecast for net industrial space demand has decreased amid slower growth in the U.S. economy. Absorption is now expected to average 37 million square feet per quarter for the next two years. This is a significant slowdown from the average 60 million square feet of quarterly net absorption experienced during 2017 and 2018.  
  • The average quarterly completions fell to 42 million square feet in the first half of 2019, down from an average of 54 million square feet per quarter during 2017 and 2018. Supply and demand are likely to stay in balance for the industrial sector; therefore, rents and vacancy rates should remain stable in many markets nationwide. 
  • A recession is not likely in the near term, but a general slowdown appears already underway; the first report of GDP growth in the second quarter fell to 2.1% from the 3.1% annualized result of the first quarter.
View the Forecast

Eight Things to Know About Industrial Real Estate Demand

Posted on August 12, 2019

By Gillam Campbell

Tariffs are in the air, but dealmaking continues on the ground in the U.S. industrial property market. Despite a slight softening, vacancy continues to hover at all-time historic lows. So, what’s driving the action? The following are eight things to know about demand for industrial property, according to JLL’s latest research Cheat Sheet:

  1. More tenants on the move, more locations needed. A year ago, our research showed 1,200 tenants seeking 439 million square feet of space. Now, roughly 1,600 tenants are in the market, looking for approximately 600 million square feet of space. The growing number of tenants includes not only new-to-market occupiers, but also companies that are looking to expand or replace square footage – whether  that means a last-mile e-commerce delivery center close to consumers or a more modern, flat-floor big-box warehouse that is ready for today’s high-tech distribution.
  2. Less is more when it comes to square footage. As consumers begin to expect next-day or even same-day delivery from their e-tailers, distribution strategies increasingly include smaller delivery centers, some of them in urban infill locations, that help companies cover the last mile to the customer. No wonder the average square footage requirement has shrunk by 10,000 square feet over the past year to reach 360,000 square feet.
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Mexican Tariffs Inject Uncertainty into Industrial Market

Posted July 3, 2019

By Joshua A. Harris

The industrial space market, along with the broad macroeconomy in the U.S., received a new jolt of uncertainty with President Donald Trump’s recent announcement of tariffs of up to 25% on goods imported from Mexico. These tariffs, if actually implemented, would represent a new front in global trade wars which have been recently escalating with China and others. Mexico is a very significant trade partner with imports totaling $371.9 billion and exports $299.1 billion in 2018 alone; this makes Mexico our third-largest trading partner and second-largest market for exported U.S. goods. Further, much of the U.S.-Mexican trade includes partially finished goods and component parts that are part of critical supply chains such as those in U.S. automotive production.

As such, the impact of a sustained bilateral trade war between the U.S. and Mexico could be uniquely devastating to both economies and especially to the U.S. industrial space markets. First, inland port markets, such as those in California and Texas, could be directly impacted by lowered volume of goods moving by truck and rail. Second, manufacturing and distribution markets in areas of high levels of U.S. manufacturing activity, such as Ohio and Tennessee, could be impacted by reduced orders as U.S. producers react to price increases of raw materials and components as well as lagging demand for exports. Finally, the vast network of distribution centers supporting retail and e-commerce could be affected by lower demand for goods given an economic slowdown and increased prices on all goods. In sum, such a trade war could easily tip the U.S. into recession.

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Industrial Sector Embraces Innovation as Consumer Demand Stays Strong

Posted July 2, 2019

By Trey Barrineau

Amid a strong economy and surging demand for consumer products, industrial remains one of the hottest segments in the commercial real estate industry. That’s in spite of a minor cooling off that’s predicted for 2019 after several years of exceptional growth powered by the rise of e-commerce and the need for last-mile distribution facilities.

The NAIOP Industrial Space Demand Forecast for the first quarter of 2019 sees demand remaining steady at 57 million square feet of absorption per quarter, roughly the same as 2018. Additionally, the national vacancy rate is just 7 percent.

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Industrial Demand to Remain Level as Economy Steadies

Posted on March 20, 2019

By Dr. Hany Guirguis and Dr. Joshua Harris

The forecast for net industrial space demand will remain steady in 2019. According to Dr. Hany Guirguis of Manhattan College and Dr. Joshua Harris of New York University, demand will remain at approximately 57 million square feet per quarter for 2019. That is unchanged from the average actual 2018 quarterly absorption of 57 million square feet. Industrial absorption in the final half of 2018 came in slightly above expectations due to higher consumer spending and retail sales, which were buoyed by a strong job market.

Industrial demand will be off to a strong start in 2019 with a potential tapering off into 2020 as rising interest rates moderate the economy’s growth rate. At present, the risk of a downturn in the industrial space market appears slim as the nationwide vacancy rate sits at a historically low 7.0 percent. Further, gross and net asking rents are at all-time highs, indicating that the market supply continues to tighten at a steady rate.

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New Report: Industrial Demand to Remain Level as Economy Steadies

Posted on March 4, 2019

The NAIOP Research Foundation has published the NAIOP Industrial Space Demand Forecast for Q1 2019.

Key Takeaways

  • Demand will remain at approximately 57 million square feet per quarter for 2019. That is unchanged from the average actual 2018 quarterly absorption of 57 million square feet.
     
  • At present, the risk of a downturn in the industrial space market appears slim as the nationwide vacancy rate sits at a historically low 7.0 percent. Further, gross and net asking rents are at all-time highs, indicating that the market supply continues to tighten at a steady rate.
     
  • While data are somewhat suppressed due to the U.S. government shutdown that took place from December 22, 2018, until January 25, 2019, economic indicators point to moderate growth.
     
  • Overall U.S. economic activity will remain steady in 2019, with annualized rates of GDP growth in the mid-2 percent range. Steady growth is the biggest factor keeping the industrial demand forecast stable. The labor market and overall consumer confidence are also expected to grow for the year, with industrial space demand increasingly influenced by consumer spending.

Overall, the U.S. industrial real estate markets appear to be healthy and stable. It is the asset class that is potentially in the best position to weather any macroeconomic downturn that may come in the next several years.

View the forecast.

The Positive Impacts of Big Data on the Supply Chain

Posted on December 19, 2018

As companies collect and analyze more data, supply chains and warehouses operations will most likely be improved, trending towards transparency and efficiency. JLL identified six likely benefits of big data across the supply chain:

  • Enhancing predictions and planning: What do customers want and when? Being able to predict the demand of shoppers can make supply chains and warehousing more proactive. Greater use of consumer spending data through algorithms should make supply chains more nimble and reactive.
  • Keeping a closer eye on goods: Technological advancements mean it’s now easier to track and trace products than ever before. Track and trace systems will create more certainty along the entire supply chain.
  • Getting more from distribution networks: Many businesses only review their distribution networks on an infrequent basis, often using incomplete data sets and with limited insights on developing trends. This is where big data could prove useful.
  • Delivering goods more efficiently: The growth of e-commerce has meant that more packages leave warehouses than enter them; one box of gadgets from a wholesaler could go on to 10 or more separate addresses. Being able to improve scheduling and routing of deliveries is a potential cost cutter especially when it involves multiple drops.
  • Reducing risk from the elements: Big data can help lessen supply chain risk from external factors – such as the weather.
  • Creating smart warehouses: Another way to improve efficiency and cut costs is within the walls of the warehouse itself. More connectivity – for example through new 3D digital tools – can boost the efficiency of operations inside, as well as energy performance.

The Warehouse of the Future is Already Here

Posted on November 6, 2018

By Rick Steger

Imagine asking a picking robot in any language you want for a product on a shelf 40 feet above the warehouse floor. Sound too futuristic? Think again — this kind of technology and others are currently making their way into a warehouse near you.

Multilingual voice controls, the Internet of Things (IoT) and emerging technologies are streamlining the modern warehouse amidst a climate of rising costs, according to our new JLL report, Industrial Warehouse of the Future. Additionally, as operators introduce more of these efficient warehouse technologies, many are also incorporating quality-of-life enhancements to counteract labor shortages.

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Q3 2018 Industrial Space Demand Forecast Now Available

Posted on September 4, 2018

Written By: Dr. Hany Guirguis and Dr. Joshua Harris

The forecast for demand for industrial space has risen because of increased expectations of broad macroeconomic growth and job generation for the remainder of 2018 and 2019. According to Dr. Hany Guirguis of Manhattan College and Dr. Joshua Harris of New York University, quarterly net absorption is expected to increase to an average of 60 million square feet for the latter half of 2018 and then moderate to 56 million square feet per quarter in 2019.

Advance indications for gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the rest of 2018 show consensus forecasts approaching annualized growth of 4.0 percent for the second quarter, which could result in sustained growth of 3.0 percent or more for the rest of the year and into 2019. Higher oil prices are a leading cause of increased business investment because as oil prices rise, there is more incentive to increase energy production and commence energy exploration – activities that significantly stimulate the overall economy. Another major force at play is consumer spending, as e-commerce continues to generate demand for industrial space.

Click here to download the report.
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Cannabis Industrial REIT Revenue Up

Posted on June 13, 2018

Innovative Industrial Properties (IIP), a Maryland-based REIT specializing in the acquisition, ownership and management of industrial properties leased to medical cannabis facilities, reports in New Cannabis Ventures that its revenue jumped 107 percent in the first quarter of 2018. Rental revenues were approximately $2.7 million in the quarter, with a net income of $607,000. The company owns six properties located in Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania totaling 706,000 rentable square feet, which were 100 percent leased at the end of Q1 with an average remaining lease term of 14.4 years. IIP recently acquired an 89,000 square foot medical-use cannabis cultivation and processing facility in a sale-leaseback transaction with a subsidiary of Vireo Health, Inc. Pennsylvania for “an aggregate consideration of $8.6 million (excluding transaction costs), which includes an approximately $2.8 million tenant improvement allowance available for additional improvements at the property.”

Net Lease Sector Stable in 2018

Posted on April 20, 2018

The Net Lease Research Report by National Real Estate Investor (NREI) finds the single-tenant net lease sector will remain "in solid shape for the foreseeable future, even in what many are viewing as the late stages of the current real estate cycle." The results were compiled from 490 responses from a February survey of NREI readers; about half of the respondents held the titles of owner, partner, president, chairman, CEO or CFO. Sixty-three percent of survey participants expect cap rates for net lease properties to increase over the next 12 months. Debt and capital equity are also expected to remain as available as they have in the previous two years. The industrial and medical office sectors are predicted to drive the strongest demand over the next year. Respondents commented that there are "diamonds in the rough in secondary/tertiary markets," and the influx of German stores Lidl and Aldi will create investment opportunities. Dollar stores, largely protected from the rise of e-commerce, have "become a popular bet for some net lease investors."

Industrial Real Estate 2018: Disruptions and Structural Shifts

Posted on April 5, 2018

By: Aaron Ahlburn, JLL

Photo courtesy of Meridian Design BuildSupply chain advances and new technologies are affecting how, where and what types of industrial facilities are being built.

Much of the media coverage of industrial real estate today is overwhelmed by e-commerce oriented topics. Retailers continue to build out their delivery, fulfillment and return capabilities, in ways that are having significant impacts on the industrial supply chain and, consequently, on the location and design of buildings. E-commerce is undoubtedly driving significant change within the industrial property sector, but real estate developers and investors should also consider a variety of other disruptions and structural shifts.

These include key changes being made along the supply chain and how those changes are affecting where and how new industrial facilities are being developed today, as well as where and how they will be developed in the future.

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CRE's Critical Contributions to US and State Economies in 2017

Posted on March 14, 2018

By: Dr. Stephen S. Fuller

Development and construction of new commercial real estate in the United States – office, industrial, warehouse and retail – generates significant economic growth at the state and national levels. This annual study, “The Economic Impacts of Commercial Real Estate,” published by the NAIOP Research Foundation, measures the contribution to GDP, salaries and wages generated and jobs supported from the development and operations of commercial real estate.

Commercial real estate development and operation of existing buildings generated the following economic benefits:

  • Supported 7.6 million American jobs in 2017 (a measure of both new and existing jobs).
  • Contributed $935.1 billion to U.S. GDP.
  • Generated $286.4 billion in salaries and wages.
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New Report: Industrial Space Demand Forecast Q1 2018

Posted on March 9, 2018

By: Dr. Joshua Harris

Industrial Demand to Remain Strong as Market Becomes Undersupplied

Demand for U.S. industrial space is expected to remain robust and steady throughout 2018, with quarterly net absorption forecast to average 55.6 million square feet. This is higher than the 44.1 million square feet of actual net absorption, on average per quarter, recorded in 2017, but lower than the 60 million square feet of quarterly net absorption forecast six months ago. According to Dr. Hany Guirguis, Manhattan College, and Dr. Joshua Harris, New York University, the predicted increase over 2017 figures is due to the faster and broader macroeconomic growth and increased consumer spending expected in 2018.

The model, run on a quarterly basis, forecasts slightly lower industrial space demand in 2019, when inflation and interest rates are expected to rise, moderating growth. U.S. gross domestic product grew by 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the advance estimate released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and by 2.3 percent for all of 2017. (For comparison, U.S. GDP grew by just 1.5 percent in 2016.) Sustained growth, especially with low unemployment at 4.1 percent as of January 2018, will translate into increasing demand for industrial properties as industrial users see more justification for investment and expansion of facilities.

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