The next big industrial warehouse might find itself on top of a former golf course. Or in an empty office building. Maybe in a vacated shopping mall.
The Covid pandemic has accelerated e-commerce sales globally, with digital sales driving a larger portion of retailers’ and grocers’ businesses. That has sparked a race for warehouse space and caused companies to seek creative commercial real estate alternatives as they strive to fulfill online orders and avoid delivery delays.
Demand for industrial, big-box facilities — warehouses or distribution centers of 200,000 square feet or more — hit a record in North America last year, according to commercial real estate services firm CBRE. It was the strongest performer among all industrial real estate. Transactions for those spaces totaled 349.3 million square feet in 2020 across the top 22 markets, a nearly 25% jump from 2019, according to CBRE.