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Supply Chain News: The State of the Big Box Distribution Center Market in North America


Now More than 11,000 DCs over 200,000 Square Feet in Top 22 Markets

April 6, 2021
SCDigest Editorial Staff

It continues to be flush times for warehouse and distribution center developers and sellers, driven by - what else - ecommerce.

Supply Chain Digest Says...


That chart also shows that demand is strong for these big box facilities, with average vacancy rates just 4.6% at the end of last year.

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According to a new report from industrial real estate firm CBRE that looked specifically at “big box” DCS (200,000 square feet or larger), “The North America industrial and logistics market had its strongest year on record in 2020 despite a pandemic that caused a severe economic downturn. Occupiers moved into facilities in droves to serve a rapidly growing online consumer base and increase their safety stock to avoid inventory disruptions.”

The market for big box buildings was especially strong, CBRE said.

Across various size rages, CBRE says that in total, big box sites accounted for about 349 million square feet of acquired or leased space 2020 in the 22 popular distribution markets CBRE analyzed for this report. That is up a substantial 25% from the 280 million square feet acquired at the end of 2019. (See graphic below.)

Just how many big box DCs are there? In the 22 large markets studied by CBRE, there were a total of just over 11,000 DCs of 200,000 square feet at the end of 2020, up from 10,480 the year before.










(See More Below)



Most of those facilities in 2020 (8260) were between 200,000 to 499,000 square feet, but there were 1227 sites of 750,000 square feet or greater, as shown in the graphic below.



That chart also shows that demand is strong for these big box facilities, with average vacancy rates just 4.6% at the end of last year.

Which of the top 22 markets has the most square footage of big box DCs? The Chicago metro areas is way out in front, with a total of 570 million square feet in total, well above the number two market of southern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, at 470 million square feet.

The full report is available here: 2020 North America Industrial Big Box

Any reaction to these US DC numbers? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.







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