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Business of Development

Authors: Quinn, Thomas
Hersh, Barry
Issue Date: 2022
Abstract: My approach for the capstone project was less a development site looking for a certain use, and more a certain use looking for the perfect development site. It all begins with e-commerce. Its share of total US retail sales went from approx. 4.5% in 2010 to a projected 15.1% in 2022, more than tripling in just over a decade. A hallmark of e-commerce is superior service—a nearly infinite number of choices, fast delivery and flexible return options. This pressure on the supply chain has driven demand for industrial real estate to nearly unprecedented levels. It began with e-tailers increasing need to be close to the customer, when in 2019 Amazon announced it was working to transform its Prime free two-day shipping to free one-day shipping. Then came COVID-19. The pandemic accelerated the reliance on e-commerce, with everyone stuck at home unable to visit traditional brick and mortar stores. This newfound demand for industrial real estate had an outsized impact on markets with direct access to large population and wealth centers. Particularly those where land is scarce like New York City. A strategic location like this is attractive to tenants like Amazon with a large urban customer base, because the supply of industrial-zoned land is shrinking in most densely populated areas. This combination of factors created a perfect storm of sorts. With e-commerce demand through the roof, industrial rents at an all-time high, and as of right urban sites large enough to accommodate tenant’s increasing needs starting to dwindle, developers began to look up. According to Dov Hertz of DH Property Holdings, a leader in modern Class A industrial development, putting traditional single-story warehouses on the available sites (in New York City) would not provide enough square footage to pencil out. Anyone seeking to capitalize on the trend toward same-day and next-day delivery would have to build vertically, says Hertz. It was clear that at least in certain markets, there was nowhere to go but up. My final report sought to not only prove out the economic viability of a ground up, Class A multi-story warehouse development in New York City, but identify just where the ideal location would be.
Rights: Copyright 2022
Appears in Collections:NYU SPS Capstone Spotlight 2021-2022

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