May 11, 2011

“If Someone’s Looking for Space, We Have Space Available”

Christine Harbin and I drove around the Lambert–St. Louis International Airport on Tuesday, to see whether there really was a shortage of warehouse space.

Legislators, after all, are in a rush to pass a bill that would award $300 million to subsidize the construction of new warehouses. That collection of subsidies is known as the “Aerotropolis” bill. Proponents of the $300 million in subsidies say that the creation of new warehouses is crucial to getting more international freight traffic to Saint Louis, primarily from China.

There is a lot of space available near the airport.

Vacant Land Available

I spoke with David Randolph, vice president of CB Richard Ellis, the brokerage company looking to lease the 405,000-square-foot building shown below. Randolph said that he hasn’t seen a shortage of warehouse space.

If someone’s looking for space, we have space available,” he said.

Randolph disagreed with making tax credits available for the developers of new buildings.

I personally think it would be a disadvantage to current owners of buildings that exist,” Randolph said, “that only new buildings get tax credits but old buildings do not.”

Matt Harrington, marketing manager at CB Richard Ellis, estimates that there is about 200 million square feet in developed warehouse, manufacturing, and flex space in the Saint Louis metro area, excluding Illinois. With a vacancy rate of 9 percent, about 18 million square feet is available, he said.

Half a Million Feet of Vacant Warehouse Space

Here is some more space available for lease:

First Industrial Realty Trust

And some more:

Space Available CB Richard Ellis

This blog post could go on. There were many warehouses available for sale or rent. So, why exactly are legislators looking to award $300 million to subsidize the creation of new warehouses? There certainly seems to be no shortage of space for lease.

Christine and I would be happy to provide a tour to any legislators who are unaware that warehouse space is available. Or they could call David Randolph. His company’s phone number is listed on the “Available” sign above.

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