South Florida is quickly becoming a hot spot for distribution warehouse centers, surpassing activity in the market’s shopping centers and malls.
The region’s commercial property management firms have seen industrial and retail sectors essentially merge into one super-sector, as the pandemic ignited the demand for e-commerce and other distribution services this past year.
“Given the area’s established retail market and increasing industrial development, the pandemic ultimately catalyzed a foreseeable joint sector,” says Lloyd Berger, founder and president of Fort Lauderdale-based Berger Commercial Realty. “Distribution has always been strong in South Florida. Year after year, we’re absorbing more space. But as a result of Covid, we probably fast-forwarded 10 years, and the whole shift of retail to industrial has accelerated. Everything we consume, regardless of whether we buy it in a store or online, passes through a distribution warehouse.”
While e-commerce retail giants such as Amazon.com and Walmart are adding fulfillment centers locally and nationwide due to the now-mainstream demand for online shopping brought on by the pandemic, local businesses have also been leasing distribution warehouse space.
Miami-based Sunbeam Properties & Development developed and manages the property leases for the Miramar Park Commerce, a more than 5 million-square-foot industrial park in southwestern Broward County.
Ryan Goggins, Sunbeam’s VP of acquisitions, leasing and marketing, indicated that e-commerce companies weren’t a major part of its management portfolio, but nonetheless had a local, spatial impact on other distribution businesses.
“Because e-commerce is such a big driver in the South Florida market, it squeezed out all these other users from having available industrial space,” Goggins said. “We were able to service that clientele, and bring our industrial vacancy rate below 2%.”
Notable tenants leasing warehouse space in Miramar Park Commerce include South Florida-based businesses JL Audio and Coaster Furniture, and companies headquartered out-of-state such as Stanley Black & Decker, Caterpillar, and Breakthru Beverage.