Event Recap: Bisnow Baltimore-Washington Industrial and Logistics Forecast

At Bisnow’s recent Industrial and Logistics Forecast event in Baltimore, MD, Bohler Engineering Principal David Nemecek moderated a panel on maximizing investments in the DC Metro Area industrial market.

Bisnow Industrial and Logistics Forecast_Panel featuring Bohler Engineering, JLL, Stag Industrial and First Industrial Realty Trust

He was joined by panelists from First Industrial Realty Trust, JLL, St. John Properties, and Stag Industrial to discuss trends and various factors affecting the industrial market, such as:

The Baltimore-Washington industrial market is still going strong.

While many have predicted the market to cool down in upcoming years, demand is very much still present. With Baltimore-Washington’s key location and close access to major highways, ports, and trains, both residents and companies are continuously attracted to the area.

Investing in infrastructure can open markets.

High-capacity roadway networks are key to the industrial industry. Improvements to the physical infrastructure such as widening roads and implementing tolls, something particularly important for the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, could not only ease traffic congestion but increase efficiency. Warehouse and distribution centers have traditionally been placed near highways and airports for ease of delivery. However, this is no longer necessary. With the current shortage of truck drivers and the potential for autonomous freight trucks, human factors of fatigue and stress are no longer a concern. This could lead to an opening of markets, and more options for locations of industrial sites.

Adaptive reuse is improving the last mile.

Redeveloping old properties for new uses is becoming more frequent as industrial land becomes scarcer. Rather than developing new large warehouses, converting empty building space to smaller distribution centers can minimize cost of design and construction. Large distribution centers are no longer sufficient to provide prompt delivery services to customers, thus these smaller warehouses and distribution centers can improve the last mile logistics to the customer by strategically placing them throughout cities.

Local relationships are key in mitigating entitlement risk.

Having a local project team is important in expediting the entitlement process. Established relationships with jurisdictional agencies can lead to a smoother and faster review process. If agencies are brought in early in the planning process, and are included in frequent check-in meetings, industrial projects can be approved quicker. For example, Tradepoint Atlantic at Sparrows Point collaborated with Bohler and Baltimore County officials to get approval in half the time of a typical review process, thanks to constant communication and regular meetings.

Catch Bisnow’s full event recap for more on these trends.