Northeast Florida’s industrial warehousing driving business growth in the region

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Aug 30, 2021 | Cargo Blog

Written by: Kim Norman, JAXPORT

Nestled in the heart of the Southeast U.S.—with same-day truck access to 98 million U.S. consumers—Northeast Florida is a growing industrial real estate market that continues to grab the attention of global businesses looking to expand their warehousing and distribution operations.

“We are seeing the highest demand for warehouse space I have ever experienced in Northeast Florida,” said Tyler Newman, CCIM, Managing Director with commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. “There are many reasons for this increased demand such as population growth in our area, the change of buying habits of the consumer, and the supply chain constraints worldwide causing users to stock more product to prevent shortages.” 

“We are seeing the highest demand for warehouse space I have ever experienced in Northeast Florida”

Tyler Newman, Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield

Major e-commerce retailers 1A Auto, and Amazon recently added or expanded warehousing operations in Jacksonville. In recent years, Wayfair, Cra-Z-Art and Article have also opened distribution centers in the region, and interest continues to grow.

“Availability of industrial warehouse space, combined with our location, continues to drive business growth in the region,” said JAXPORT General Manager of Business Development Robert Peek. “Many global companies are looking to set up operations near their customer base, and when they compare the availability of industrial real estate and costs, along with proximity to a major deepwater seaport, Jacksonville stacks up very well.”

Jacksonville’s strategic location at the northern gateway of Florida, the nation’s third most populous state, makes the region well-positioned to serve the demands of time-sensitive products such as e-commerce. More than seven million Florida residents live within a three-hour drive of JAXPORT. Throughout the past decade, Florida was the fastest growing state in the South Atlantic, a position it is expected to maintain over the next 10 years.

A recent report produced by commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield found that there are nearly 100 million square feet of combined occupied and vacant warehouse distribution space in Northeast Florida. Even with a multitude of companies expanding operations in the region, there is still a variety of space available.

“All of this interest in Northeast Florida’s industrial real estate market shows that companies are recognizing the region’s business advantages,” said Peek. “Customers are finding multiple options in the size and price points they’re looking for, and that availability is becoming a major factor in their decision to choose Jacksonville.”

In addition to build-to-suit space, Cushman & Wakefield is also seeing high demand for speculative warehousing – space built by developers, based on average market needs. Leasing pre-built spec warehousing cuts down on the lead time it takes for a tenant to occupy the building.

Currently, the firm is tracking 24 speculative warehouse buildings under construction in the Jacksonville area, totaling 6.2 million square feet – a healthy amount to match the demand. Eight buildings are set to deliver in 2021, with 10 more the following year.  Newman says the availability of spec space gives Northeast Florida yet another advantage.

1A Auto Warehouse

“It is very important to have some vacant warehouse space in our area,” Newman said. “Most companies do not want to wait for a building to get built, so they need developers to build spec buildings. If there is no product, and a tenant cannot wait, then they may pick another city to place their business. The current leases pending on the new buildings shows the importance of having developers build spec.” 

JAXPORT and its partners continue to invest in infrastructure enhancements to support the growing needs of the region’s industrial real estate users. The federal project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 feet will be completed through the Blount Island Marine Terminal in 2022, with accompanying berth enhancements that will enable the facility to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax vessels. As larger ships call JAXPORT, these investments ensure cargo will continue to move quickly and efficiently through port terminals to warehouses and other destinations, creating and protecting port-dependent jobs.

container ship in front of JAXPORT Blount Island Marine Terminal

For more information about the advantages that make Northeast Florida a global destination for business, contact one of JAXPORT’s cargo experts or call 904-357-3030.