Publications

- September 1, 2020: Vol. 32, Number 8

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Taking the last mile to the mall

by Loretta Clodfelter

The shift to ecommerce has meant changing fortunes for industrial and retail real estate. As more shopping has moved online, warehouse and logistics properties have been the beneficiaries, and demand from ecommerce tenants remains high.

Retail landlords, facing a decline in consumer tastes and the bankruptcy of major tenants, are now looking at converting retail space to industrial space. Simon Property Group, for example, is reportedly in talks with Amazon.com Inc. regarding the possibility of turning empty anchor stores into distribution hubs.

A July 2020 survey by CBRE Research found 59 such projects have been completed, proposed or are under way since 2017 — up from only 24 in January 2019. Such projects represent 13.8 million square feet of retail space converted to 15.5 million square feet of industrial space.

According to CBRE Research, the top five markets for such conversions, accounting for one-third of the overall total, are Milwaukee; Cleveland; Ch

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