Think small when it comes to warehousing
By Bob Trebilcock · November 13, 2018
A friend of mine is having a dickens of a time selling her home in Columbus, Ohio. It’s in a great neighborhood with one of the best school systems in the area. And, at over 4,000 square feet with a nice big yard it’s the kind of house people my age aspired to. What’s not to like? Apparently, it’s the size. The realtors have told her that the houses selling right now are smaller because today’s buyer doesn’t want to take care of all that property. Sometimes, it pays to think small.
Something similar might be happening in the warehouse market, albeit for different reasons, according to Jon Pharris, the president of CapRock Partners, a regional developer of distribution centers in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. While the typical warehouse in CapRock’s portfolio is about 400,000 square feet, “we’re seeing a whole new demand for small box facilities,” Pharris told me last week. Those are facilities under 200,000 square feet, with many as small as 50,000 square feet. As an example, CapRock is currently building out 1 million square feet of traditional space in Southern California, but another of 900,000 square feet of small box facilities.
The driver, as you probably guessed, is e-commerce, or as the folks at CapRock put it in a press release: “Typically less than 200,000 square feet in size and in a nearby infill location, and surrounded by housing with substantial purchasing power, small-box warehouses are now the linchpin in the e-commerce ecosystem.”
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