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The World Needs Warehouses Now

by Mary Rooney | Mar 30, 2020

Article from Bloomberg Businessweek

As stores from California to New York shut to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Amazon.com Inc.’s massive fulfillment centers are a hive of activity. Demand for household staples has been so frenzied that the eCommerce giant is temporarily limiting shipments of nonessential items to its facilities. It also wants to hire 100,000 workers to improve operations—at a time when millions of people in other industries are likely to lose their jobs. The moves have underscored the value of a type of building that real estate investors were already snapping up: warehouses.

Last year, Blackstone Group Inc. bought more than $25 billion worth of industrial properties, which include warehouses and logistics facilities, according to Real Capital Analytics. The private equity firm now owns more of this space in the U.S. than any group except real estate investment trust Prologis Inc., which has also been getting bigger through acquisitions. The two companies have about a billion square feet between them, more than their next 10 largest competitors combined, according to CBRE Group Inc.

In a world where online sellers are poised to accelerate their gain in market share, some see Blackstone, Prologis and other landlords benefiting from one of the few bright spots in a bleak investing landscape. 

Well before the coronavirus, real estate investors were drawn to the fundamentals of warehouses—and were paying high prices for them. The supply of space close to cities that’s needed for last-mile delivery was particularly tight, and vacancy rates across the industry have hovered below 5%. 

Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek.


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