Industrial market experts expect to see an even greater need for vehicle and truck parking at warehouse and logistics buildings in 2021.
We assembled a panel of industry experts to tackle this month’s question.
Here’s what they had to say.
Joel Bergstein, president, Lincoln Equities Group (East Rutherford)
For 2021 I do not believe that warehouse construction or functionality will change much. I think the value of the efficiency of the modern warehouse design is being recognized now and class B and C warehouses are coming slightly out of favor even in great locations. More so than ever, having an abundance of parking is paramount. I think the one trend we may see is an increase in need for refrigerated and freezer space. Historically, the credit of some of these tenants has made that industrial sector tough, but there could be some strategic consolidation that will bolster the credit of much of the smaller players. We continue to develop and have great leasing activity even through the pandemic. We believe that, even in 2021, supply will still not meet the demand for industrial space in the Northeast.
Tim Cadigan, senior vice president, Avison Young (Morristown)
Follow Amazon! More automation is coming into warehouse/distribution and the need for parking is paramount in urban markets. Warehouse pricing and COVID-19 may push many corporate managers of mid and smaller cap companies to follow the trends of larger users and invest into more automation, maximizing the utility of their footprint and expediting delivery times.
This also mitigates future risks associated with employee health and rising labor costs. Creative parking solutions will be needed for delivery and employee vehicles within the densest markets as land costs continue to soar. Both factors will push developers, architects, engineers and contractors to come up with solutions and cost containment to improve design for automation including adding mezzanines, standardizing fewer joints in floors, using lighter materials to build multistory warehouses and finding more efficient ways to park delivery vehicles.
Jesse Harty, senior vice president, market officer Prologis (East Rutherford)
The future of industrial building design incorporates sustainability, technology and functionality to increase operational efficiency and elevate employees’ experiences at work. For example, in New Jersey and New York, Prologis is currently working toward 50 megawatts of new solar. Prior to COVID, we had also started to add touchless features in restrooms and breakrooms. While the original purpose was ease of use and convenience for employees, this shift will prove even more necessary in an environment of increased sanitary requirements.
In 2021, we’ll also see a rising need for outdoor storage and the use of rooftops as parking spaces, as e-commerce adoption accelerates and drives demand for more employee parking, trailer parking and fleet management.
On the construction side, Prologis is deploying Reduced Joint Slab concrete to increase joint spacing from 12 feet, 6 inches to 125 feet. What that means is that in a 1 million-square-foot building, we would experience a reduction of joint mileage from 32 to six — decreasing the number of joints to repair and creating a smoother work surface for forklift operators and workers in the building.
Jeff Milanaik, partner, Northeast region, Bridge Development Partners (Parsippany)
Even if and when a COVID-19 vaccine arrives, I believe we’ll continue to see social distancing, mask-wearing and appropriate workspace protocol — such as daily on-site health surveys, temperature scans and sanitizing stations — for the foreseeable future. The pandemic has expedited e-commerce’s already rapid growth, and we’re seeing higher demand for industrial facilities than almost ever before. Because of those dynamics, we’ll need to alter the design of these developments to separate different core components within warehousing spaces, reducing density and accommodating social distancing guidelines in the process. We could also begin to see more contactless doors being installed, as well as upgraded air filtration systems. For the same reasons, we’re incorporating more square footage for designated office space within these buildings, and are seeing requests from large e-commerce tenants for increased vehicle and delivery truck parking. We expect even smaller shipping and logistics players will require similar expansions as last-mile delivery needs continue to grow.
Felix Soto, associate director of research, Colliers International (Woodbridge/Parsippany)
Social distancing orders have accelerated the shift toward e-commerce purchases, a trend that will likely stick and be a permeant part of consumer buying habits. This will eventually increase demand for final-mile distribution and cold storage space, both of which are in short supply. For example, Amazon recently announced it plans on opening 14 final-mile delivery stations in New Jersey in 2020. Design changes are required for these distribution centers, as they typically require more parking and truck courts.
Occupiers may fast-track their adoption of robotics within warehouses to minimize close human contact and increase efficiency. Warehouse users have spent the last several months rethinking their layouts to make social distancing possible, however these measures affect productivity. Automation and robotics can play an important role in this environment to ensure worker safety and boost production.