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E-commerce has city's warehouse market booming as retail slows

November 8, 2019

As Amazon and other e-commerce giants circle, warehouse space is booming in the five boroughs. 


Sales volume for industrial buildings is already up 145% from this time in 2016, with total sales expected to reach $2.4 billion this year across 214 transactions.


That's according to a report from B6 Real Estate Advisors, first reported by The Wall Street Journal.  


Industrial space is thriving in a year when investment in other sectors—such as multifamily buildings and retail—has cooled, the report found. Retail sales volume is expected to drop 64% from 2012 totals.


Industrial buildings sold for an average of $414 per square feet during the third quarter, according to B6 Real Estate Advisors, compared to about $300 per square foot during the same period in 2015. 


"Industrial’s sudden rise is evidence that the ambitions of online retailers are having a dramatic impact on the investment market," read a summary of the report. 


Amazon leased a nearly million square foot warehouse in Staten Island last year for a distribution center and earlier this year leased more than 100,000 square foot space in the Bronx. The company has also considered leasing significant blocks of warehouse space in both Queens and Brooklyn, Crain's reported this summer. 


Amazon rival, owned by Walmart, leased a 200,000 square foot warehouse in the Bronx last year. 


Paul Massey, chief executive of B6, told the Journal that businesses’ "desire to solve for that last-mile element has radically turned around the appetite for those buildings."


Big-name investors have gotten in on the action. That includes Blackstone, the world's biggest alternative asset manager. The company doubled its portfolio in June with an $18.7 billion deal for 179 million square feet worth of warehouses in the U.S. and abroad. 


Industrial action was strongest in Brooklyn last quarter, the B6 report found, particularly the neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Flatbush. There were 21 industrial deals between July and September, worth about $236 million. 


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