Why Distribution Centers are Booming in Central Fla.

Central Florida seems to be a progressive warehouse market lately and the trend will keep going for a while by every indication.

Demand for distribution space in Central Florida is booming these days, and no letup is in sight. Last year e-commerce retailers, parcel delivery firms and transportation/logistics companies occupied more space in the area than ever before, and CBRE analysts expect demand to keep rising for at least the next three years.

Contributing factors include vigorous population growth, an abundance of well-located, affordable industrial space and strong infrastructure—for example, Winter Haven’s new intermodal terminal, which links Central Florida to markets like Chicago, New York, Memphis and Atlanta.

  • The I-4 corridor between Orlando and Tampa is a hot spot, highlighted by last year’s arrival of Amazon’s first facility in Florida, a one-million-square-foot fulfillment center in Lakeland. A second facility in Ruskin soon followed. More recently, the industrial development division of Transwestern Development Co. has also broken ground on the 490,000-square-foot Lakeland Logistics Center industrial park. Besides creating jobs, Amazon’s arrival in the Sunshine State may also help draw other companies.

All told, e-commerce retailers will occupy an additional 3.4 million square feet of industrial space in Central Florida over the next three years, according to CBRE’s prognosis. Parcel delivery firms should also fill another 800,000 square feet and transportation/logistics users will likely contribute with further 860,000 square feet between 2015 and the end of 2017.

Chart courtesy of CBRE