December 16th, 2022
“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.”
- Claude Monet
We all strive to move forward in our personal and professional lives.
We make detailed plans. We take relentless action. And we slowly inch our way towards our goals.
Sometimes the path ahead is clear. Other times, it is clouded with uncertainty, and we must proceed cautiously with the best-possible data on hand.
In today’s industrial market, we observe a confluence of headwinds causing investors and occupiers to re-evaluate their strategies for the coming year. On the surface, big moves are taking place, yet constraints are making it more challenging to identify opportunities that are clear winners from the outset. Deep market knowledge and access to relationships have become even more critical to those market players willing to participate.
Institutional investors continue to turn to industrial assets to find refuge from inflation and the underperformance of alternative investment vehicles. High-quality industrial product remains a prudent investment due to rising rents and cashflows, the increase in construction/replacement costs, and the broad erosion of purchasing power.
Despite the enormous volume of inventory coming on-stream, acquiring assets with AAA-quality tenants or below-market in-place rents mitigates risk and uncovers value. We observe this through the recent acquisitions of entire REITs and mid-bay industrial portfolios, as well as sale-leasebacks to firms seeking additional liquidity to navigate the economic landscape and/or reinvest into operations.
Private investors, too, can partake in the development or acquisition of modern warehousing and distribution centers. However, many are finding themselves with a unique exit opportunity – the culmination of years or decades of careful management – thanks to the robust market and the roster of active and credible buyers.
On the flipside, and as mentioned, occupiers are actively looking to compete in the marketplace and deal with rising costs and labour shortages. This often means paying a premium to secure the best-possible location, as well as investments into automation and robotics. And given how costly these upgrades can be, owned real estate can provide the funding necessary to streamline and restructure.
All of these forces and all of these differing objectives have created a dynamic whereby investors with dry powder are looking to scoop up – you guessed it – high-quality industrial assets. Although the economy has become a greater concern over the back half of 2022, investment activity from the institutional side has not appeared to slow. We expect this activity to continue and possibly ramp up should economic conditions deteriorate as, in theory, asset prices may be had for a discount.
As always, we cannot predict what will happen, but we can, as Monet says, “dig and delve unceasingly” into the data and reflect on the past and present.
Last week, we covered the top industrial sales, investment sales, and leasing transactions of 2022. Today, we will conclude our analysis with a recap some of the most prominent GTA industrial land sales and development projects underway.
Notable GTA Industrial Land Sales in 2022
12519 Humber Station Road, Caledon – 194.15 acres – Prologis – $479.6 Million
12519 Humber Station Road, Caledon. Source: Google.
Prologis acquired approximately 194.15 acres of development lands in Caledon from Solmar Development Corporation in June 2022. The site will support in and around 3 million square feet of industrial space, and is located in close proximity to the proposed Highway 413, otherwise known as the GTA West Corridor.
Notable GTA Industrial Developments in 2022
Woodbine Ave & Glenwoods Ave, Keswick – Panattoni – ~3,800,000 SF
Woodbine Avenue & Glenwoods Avenue, Keswick. Source: Panattoni.
Panattoni is developing the 404 Logistics Park located at Woodbine Avenue and Glenwoods Avenue in Keswick, Ontario. The multi-phase project will support approximately 3.8 MSF SF on 200 acres – with final figures to be confirmed – about 3km from the Highway 404 interchange.
Phase 1 will consist of three industrial properties of 369,461 SF, 634,296 SF, and 687,534 SF. Building 1 is a 369,461 SF speculative development with 62 truck-level and 4 drive-in doors, as well as 104 trailer parking spots, and is being offered for lease and with Q4 2023 occupancy. Buildings 2 and 3 are currently proposed with further details expected in the near future.
Phase 2 will expect to see two additional properties constructed that are 1,175,161 SF and 987,331 SF in size. Finally, Blocks 2 and 3 will consist of two future industrial properties in the southwest portion of the site.
Ever since the industrial market began its historic ‘bull’ run around 5-7 years ago, we have seen an enormous amount of industrial land sales and new development. According to some estimates, the Greater Toronto Area has around 65 million SF of industrial space in the pipeline, and approximately 21 million SF of that currently under construction (with a large percentage already pre-leased). Even with the economic uncertainty we feel today, the industrial market as a whole is extremely robust and able to withstand any potential additional vacancies.
Industrial land values have increased from several hundred thousand dollars to in excess of 3 or 4 million dollars per acre and continue to increase depending on the location, zoning, and servicing.
This dynamic will stay the same in 2023 and beyond due largely to the fact that shovel-ready industrial land has become relatively scarce. Furthermore, the supply of new industrial lands is in many ways limited due to the Green Belt, conservation, competing residential needs, and because of the fact that the core GTA mainly offers infill redevelopment options as opposed to greenfield rezoning plays that are commonplace with Big Box warehousing projects.
As a result, new developments are being completed further and further away from the core and into secondary markets within the Greater Golden Horseshoe area. As we have touched on in previous issues, we believe developers will focus on strategically located lands in proximity to existing and new transportation infrastructure networks, such as the 404, 400, 427, the GTA West Corridor, and Bradford Bypass, due in part to rising transportation costs and a need to access labour.
Will these constraints see innovations in design, such as multi-storey warehousing, become prevalent across the GTA? Would a softening demand translate into fewer speculative builds? Or will developers continue to charge forward and bring forth tens of millions more square feet of industrial space?
The story of how we build cities, designate and develop lands, and add value to assets is a critical aspect of our day-to-day lives. And I am certain that 2023 will bring about new challenges, as well as opportunities, for the industrial real estate community.
With that said, if you would like a confidential consultation or a complimentary opinion of value of your industrial asset, please give us a call.
Until next week…
Goran Brelih and his team have been servicing Investors and Occupiers of Industrial properties in Toronto Central and Toronto North markets for the past 30 years.
Goran Brelih is a Senior Vice President for Cushman & Wakefield ULC in the Greater Toronto Area.
Over the past 30 years, he has been involved in the lease or sale of approximately 25.7 million square feet of industrial space, valued in excess of $1.6 billion dollars while averaging between 40 and 50 transactions per year and achieving the highest level of sales, from the President’s Round Table to Top Ten in GTA and the National Top Ten.
Goran is a Past President of the SIOR ‐ Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, Central Canadian Chapter.
Industrial Real Estate Sales and Leasing, Investment Sales, Design-Build and Land Development
About Cushman & Wakefield ULC.
Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global real estate services firm that delivers exceptional value for real estate occupiers and owners. Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 53,000 employees in 400 offices and 60 countries.
In 2020, the firm had revenue of $7.8 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, valuation and other services. To learn more, visit www.cushmanwakefield.com.
For more information on GTA Industrial Real Estate Market or to discuss how they can assist you with your real estate needs please contact Goran at 416-756-5456, email at email@example.com, or visit www.goranbrelih.com.
Goran Brelih, SIOR
Senior Vice President, Broker
Cushman & Wakefield ULC, Brokerage.