As we begin to reopen most parts of our society following the COVID-19 pandemic that devastated our country and economy earlier this year, many in the commercial real estate industry are beginning to take stock of the massive shifts it may have put into motion.
While the pandemic has decimated many sectors – shuttering retail shops, leaving offices empty and setting off an exodus of urban apartment dwellers – prospects for industrial properties have remained strong. Demand for warehouses of all kinds has been soaring in recent years, largely on the back of the growing e-commerce industry, and the sidelining of brick-and-mortar stores has only strengthened those tailwinds. However, that does not mean that the sector will not face challenges in the years to come.
While most of the country’s core markets have a healthy pipeline of dry warehouse development that will help meet demand from users, the same cannot be said for an increasingly essential part of our supply chain – cold storage facilities. Vacancy for cold storage was already at or near zero across the country, but the pandemic has set off a chain of events that is likely to place significant stress on our supply chain of food and other goods that require a controlled temperature environment.