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Commercial Trend Watch: Cold Chain Real Estate

August 16, 2019
Commercial Real Estate Trends
By: Jason Holte

What is the cold chain, and how can brokers and developers position themselves to capitalize on this trend?

A change in consumer behavior is causing an interesting shift in the industrial real estate market. Per Bisnow, the rising demand for organic food has created a need for more refrigerated warehouse and distribution facilities. Dubbed the “cold chain,” the demand for these facilities could reach 100 million new square feet over the next five years, according to a CBRE study cited in the article.

Aerial image of a warehouse

Here’s what commercial real estate brokers and land developers need to know about this exciting trend.

About the Trend

According to Bisnow, 214 million square feet of cold storage facilities are currently online in the United States. By square footage, California contains the most cold storage facilities, with Washington, Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin rounding out the top five. While the top five states account for nearly 27% of the total inventory, the perishable nature of organic foods suggests a fairly uniform demand nationwide.

As the article also notes, there are some obstacles to navigate in developing cold chain facilities. For one, the cost of building a cold storage warehouse can be up to three times the cost of a “dry” facility. This means that developers looking to create spaces to meet the growing demand need a cost-effective way to find suitable properties. That makes an all-in-one solution like our map-based real estate application, LandVision, a must-have resource for developers of cold chain facilities.

How LandVision Helps Find Cold Chain Real Estate

As we demonstrated in our look at industrial real estate supply & demand, LandVision makes site selection for warehouse space fast and easy. Because LandVision ties over 300 property and tax attributes to parcel boundaries, brokers and developers alike can quickly find the properties in their markets that are capable of holding a refrigerated warehouse facility. California’s Inland Empire is one of the nation’s largest industrial real estate markets, so we’ll be conducting our search for vacant land there. Using LandVision’s aggregate acreage search function, we’re able to search for either single properties or groups of properties that add up to our target lot size, which we’ve set at a range of 1.25-2.5 acres. Since cold chain facilities also function similarly to last-mile fulfillment centers, we’ll further limit our search to only properties within one mile of the 15 freeway for easy access.

Search Results for Potential Cold Chain Facilities in LandVision

Our initial search turns up 64 results, which is a pretty good targeted list for us to begin to analyze further. If we want to narrow the results down further then we can add additional criteria, such as assessed value or properties located in opportunity zones, and run our search again. Or, if we’re happy with our set of properties as-is, then we can add them to a list. This will give us the ability to compare property characteristics side-by-side, export the list as a spreadsheet to add these properties to a CRM, or even generate address labels to send a personalized mailer to the property owners. Selecting any of the properties in our list will open the location information panel, which will allow us to take a closer look at that property’s characteristics. From here, we can also generate in-depth site profile reports with a single click. This will provide a rich summary of not just the property itself, but also its transaction history, proximity to hazards, aerial imagery, and the demographic breakdown of the area within a specified distance or drive time of the property.

Best of all, we are able to conduct all of this due diligence within LandVision, without the need to track down information from the county assessor or toggle between multiple applications. In minutes, we’ve got actionable data that we can use to make confident decisions on where to place a cold chain facility.

Learn More

Over 20,000 real estate professionals trust the DMP location intelligence platform to help them find off-market opportunities and win more deals. Contact us today to learn more, or schedule a free LandVision demo!

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