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December 5, 2023
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U.S. Hits Record Number of Warehouse Leases of 1 msf or Greater in 2021


This report was provided by CBRE

Last year was a record year for large warehouse leases, driven by a rebounding economy and strong e-commerce sales. Companies committed to 57 warehouse leases of 1 msf or larger across the U.S. in 2021, a 19% increase from 2020, according to CBRE.

CBRE charted the increase in mega warehouse leases as part of its analysis of the 100 largest U.S. industrial & logistics leases of 2021. CBRE found that, among those 100 leases, the average 2021 transaction size increased to 1.053 msf, slightly above 2020’s average of 1.038 msf.

“Given today’s supply chain challenges, such as transportation costs, staying ahead of customer demands and on-time deliveries, it is more important than ever for companies to expand their storage space domestically,” said Phoenix-based Senior Vice President Cooper Fratt. “Given Phoenix’s proximity to its West Coast neighbors and their ports, its favorable business environment and pipeline of modern distribution facilities, we anticipate increased demand for these type of mega leases in the region.”

The industry sector claiming the largest share of those 100 leases is general retail and wholesale, which recorded 44 transactions (46.1 msf). This was a significant jump from 2020 when that sector recorded 32 transactions (35 msf). E-commerce-only occupiers, last year’s leader, were second at 21 deals (27 msf), followed by food and beverage users at 15 deals (14.2 msf).

By market, Chicago had the greatest number of the top 100 transactions with 12. The Pennsylvania I-78/81 corridor followed with 11 but recorded the most transacted square feet at 12.4 msf. Phoenix ranked seventh with five large transactions totaling 6 msf. Greenville – Spartanburg, SC, a fast-growing market in the southeast, made the top 10 for the first time.

Leading Markets - Number of Transactions - Transacted MSF

Chicago - 12 - 12
PA - I-78/81 Corridor - 11 - 12.4
Inland Empire - 10 - 10.2
Dallas – Fort Worth - 9 - 8.6
Atlanta - 8 - 8.4
Indianapolis - 6 - 5.5
Phoenix - 5 - 6
Columbus - 5 - 5
Central NJ - 5 - 4.6
Greenville-Spartanburg - 3 - 2.7

“It’s notable to see Greenville-Spartanburg on this list for the first time,” said James Breeze, Global Head of Industrial & Logistics Research for CBRE. “As core markets continue to struggle with availability, growth markets will begin to see larger deals as occupiers look to address their space needs.

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