June 7th, 2024

It was only a few short years ago that industrial land across the Greater Toronto Area was outperforming every other asset class by a mile. And it wasn’t even close. Or reasonably debatable. Heck, it even gave Bitcoin a run for its proverbial virtual money.

Sites that had been acquired and held for three to five years were sold to major developers for double, triple, even ten times their value.

Case in point: the 200 acres at 5244 Tremaine Road in Milton was purchased in September of 2021 for $165 million from a syndicate of investors who had scooped up the site for just $15 million in July 2015.

Even at that astronomical appreciation (likely due to the lands being brought into the secondary plan and/or being serviced), $826,732 per acre would be considered an amazing deal in today’s market, especially for a quality location and shovel-ready status.

Fast-forward past the post-lockdown boom and waves of economic uncertainty and we find ourselves in an industrial market with more ‘healthy slack’, stabilizing rents and values, and a softer appetite for large land deals and speculative development.

Ultimately, it was the sub-1% vacancies, construction bottlenecks, and delirious demand which drove the industrial land sales market to new heights. That emotional mania no longer exists. Rather, we see a more consistent and methodical approach from developers.

On the other hand, those that had land banked a little too aggressively have looked to piece off parcels or partner with tenants looking to do design builds. Even those who were not over-extended by any means are doing so to spread risk and cash out on lands that have, at worst case, appreciated by multi-double-digit percentage points.

It feels a bit like we’re ‘back to our regular programming,’ when looking at the trades in 2024-to-date, where we see a healthy range of pricing and circumstance; from the high-prized trophy sites and big name joint ventures down to systematic land banking and the odd power of sale.

Land sales at $4 million and up per acre are more the exception now than the rule, and are left to high-density, infill projects rather than big box warehouse developments. With the abundance of existing inventory now available to tenants, those getting involved in pre-leasing or design-builds are doing so because they want to, not because they need to.

Exceptional locations. Zero net carbon certifications. Rare features such as contiguous space of over 1,000,000 square feet, ultra-heavy power, cold storage, high door ratios or cross docks, or proximity to rail, air, or intermodal. These are the attributes commanding premiums. Essentially anything that cannot be easily changed or retrofitted into an asset.

As we move forward, it will be interesting to see if and where the development pipeline stabilizes, and what the trickle-up effect will be on the industrial land market.

So without further ado, let’s look at some notable industrial land transactions across the GTA in 2024 to-date.

Notable GTA Industrial Land Sales in 2024

  1. 297 Rutherford Road S, Brampton

297 Rutherford Road S, Brampton. Source: MLS.

A private corporation acquired the 17.89-acre site at 297 Rutherford Road S in Brampton from BentallGreenOak for $72.5 million, or $4,051,637 per acre. Zoned M1/M2 industrial with outside storage and containing a 34,250 SF cross-dock with 20 truck-level and 8 drive-in doors, this type of asset at its location is extremely rare and coveted by industrial users.

  1. 3402-3416 Appleby Line, Burlington

3402-3416 Appleby Line, Burlington. Source: GeoWarehouse.

Tempel Steel Canada, a subsidiary of US-based Worthington Steel, acquired the 16.71-acre site at 3402-3416 Appleby Line, Burlington from Panattoni for $29,553,750, or $1,769,050 per acre. The land is zoned D Zone Development while the official plan permits for a wide range of uses.

  1. 7267 5th Side Road, Innisfil

7267 5th Side Road, Innisfil. Source: Broccolini. 

Broccolini sold 55 acres of its 71.8-acre site at 7267 5th Side Road in Innisfil to DSV for $84,119,000, or approximately $1.53-million per acre. Plans are for the developer to construct a massive 1.3-million square foot distribution center for the Danish logistics and transportation giant with delivery expected sometime in mid-2025. The facility will be DSV’s second million-plus square-footer alongside its recently completed Milton warehouse.

  1. 3255 King-Vaughan Road, Vaughan

3255 King-Vaughan Road, Vaughan. Source: GeoWarehouse.

Zzen Group acquired 40.76 acres of employment lands at Highway 400 and King-Vaughan Road in Vaughan for $45,000,000 or approximately $1.1-million per acre. Lands along Highway 400 remain highly coveted due to their location and ‘gateway’-like nature; providing access to the North, the Core, and other outlying markets through the major 400-series highways. 

  1. 5122 First Line, Milton

5122 First Line, Milton. Source: GeoWarehouse.

Tribal Partners acquired 50.816 acres of agricultural land at 5122 First Line in MIlton for $55,638,000, or $1,094,891 per acre. 


Although industrial real estate across the GTA remains highly sought-after, the market is generally slower-moving than what it was at its peak. Longer leasing and sales times mean developers are likely to wait until lease-up or closing before kicking off the next project. This also may mean passing on or delaying acquisition plays further up the pipeline.

Changes to pro formas, such as increases in development charges and construction costs, along with lower rents and slower escalations mean lower land values and potentially unfeasible projects.

Ultimately, and as mentioned above, trophy assets will always be coveted. Location, location, location rings true as always. For developers, a willingness to partner with the right tenant to construct their dream operation may be the most prudent exit strategy in an economic landscape that is seeing tenants have all the negotiating power amongst undifferentiated assets. And for those tenants that were crowded out during the peak, now may be the most opportune time to build the facility you have wanted but could not secure up until now. It all begins with the foundation; the right parcel of land.

For a confidential consultation or a complimentary opinion of value of your property 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 an Executive 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.

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 goran.brelih@cushwake.com, or visit www.goranbrelih.com.

Connect with Me Here! – Goran Brelih’s Linkedin Profile: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/goranbrelih

Goran Brelih, SIOR

Executive Vice President, Broker
Cushman & Wakefield ULC, Brokerage.

Office: 416-756-5456
Mobile: 416-458-4264
Mail: goran.brelih@cushwake.com
Website: www.goranbrelih.com


Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!