Big-box distribution centers on the rise: 4 things to know

Big-box distribution centers — defined as facilities larger than 300,000 square feet — are popping up across the U.S. in record numbers thanks to the rising popularity of e-commerce, according to National Real Estate Investor.

Here are four things to know.

  1. Almost 100 big-box warehouses, totaling 60 million square feet, were brought to the market in the past 12 months, according to a recent report from Colliers International.

  1. Only 157 of the 1,908 big-box distribution centers in the U.S. are currently empty. Although an additional 20 million square feet of new space is created each quarter, these facilities still only have a 7.4 percent vacancy rate.

  1. Amazon, the leading online retailer, continues to acquire big-box warehouses. In 2016, the company leased 767,161 square feet in Romeoville, Ill.; more than 1 million square feet in Forth Worth, Texas; 810,000 square feet in Carteret, N.J.; and 2.1 million square feet at two facilities in San Bernardino and Eastvale, Calif.

  1. James Breeze, one of the report's authors and national director of industrial research at Colliers International, weighed in on the warehouse growth saying, "Absorption continues to outpace new construction and while some retailers are starting to be able to compete with Amazon, there are others that are just getting started on their e-commerce strategies. Companies are becoming more adept, and investment is shifting away from stores to the distribution centers."

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