CenterPoint’s Senior Vice President of Development in the Central Region, Brian McKiernan, was among the industrial real estate experts featured by RE Journals on the state of the industry in 2023 and what they see ahead in ’24.
Read what Brian has to say about the Chicagoland market in “‘Renewed activity’: 2024 promises clarity in Chicago industrial market after bumpy 2023.”
Industrial experts across the Chicago area are watching several factors as we transition from a challenging end of 2023 into what looks like a promising 2024. To understand what’s ahead, Chicago Industrial Properties first asked these experts to shed light on the past year’s trials and triumphs, as well as the path those paved.
2023 stood out as a distinctive year for Neal Driscoll, Midwest Region Partner with Dermody Properties, who suggested the industry collectively held its breath, awaiting the impact of the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool inflation on businesses.
“We saw a dramatic slowdown in the acquisition and development pipelines because interest rates forced many of us to reset the pricing expectations buyers and sellers witnessed for the past few years,” said Driscoll. “The value of existing buildings and land for development had been escalating but owners and developers could afford to pay the escalating prices because interest rates cooperated, and lease rates continued to rise.”
Despite these challenges, Driscoll highlighted the resilience of industrial demand, emphasizing that the health of the market remained robust. The strategic focus on expanding their footprint through acquisition, development and redevelopment showcased Dermody Properties’ commitment to navigating these challenges.
Adam J. Moore, Senior Regional Director at First Industrial Realty Trust, offered insights into the pacing of the year, noting a slow start that fueled optimism for a summer rebound. However, this optimism faced headwinds as leasing activity continued to decelerate in the second and third quarters, paralleled by ongoing speculative deliveries.
“The fourth quarter brought some renewed activity on the demand side as companies started to see the end in sight for interest rate increases by the Fed and greater hopes for a soft landing for the overall economy,” he shared.
It was a return to normalcy, marking a transition with both expected and unexpected consequences, said Josh Udelhofen, Senior Vice President at Trammell Crow Company.
“On the positive side, we are still seeing reasonably strong tenant demand in many size cohorts, and overall rental rate growth,” he explained. “That said, when combined with record deliveries, the resulting impact was an increase in vacancy in most submarkets.”
Udelhofen did express optimism, anticipating a balancing effect on vacancy rates due to a significant reduction in new project starts, a consequence of dislocated capital markets.
Kevin Mohoney, Vice President of Molto Properties, framed 2023 as a year of transition for the Chicago industrial market, witnessing a normalization of tenant demand after two years of record leasing.
“While this was expected and is not entirely concerning, you have to remember that it was against a backdrop of record new deliveries,” he emphasized.
The equilibrium between industrial real estate supply and tenant demand, coupled with consistent rent growth, made Chicago an attractive market in 2023, according to Brian McKiernan, Senior Vice President of Development, Central Region for CenterPoint Properties.
“Industrial real estate supply and tenant demand are well-balanced, and rent growth is consistent, which long-term owner-operators like CenterPoint find favorable,” he elaborated.
So what are they keeping an eye on now that we’ve reached 2024? McKiernan is focused on logistics, specifically how the industry could be impacted by events in the Middle East and economic headwinds.
“Rising consumer confidence and reduced inflation rates seem to have helped imports, as ports, by and large, outpaced volume forecasts last quarter, which is good news for investors in port markets and critical distribution hubs like Chicago,” he said. “Now that labor impasses on the West Coast have imports moving back to ports there, supply should tighten, and rents in infill port-proximate submarkets will bounce back from recent lulls.”
About CenterPoint Properties
CenterPoint is an industrial real estate company made up of dedicated thinkers, innovators and leaders with the creativity and know-how to tackle the industry’s toughest challenges. And it’s those kinds of problems — the delicate, the complex, the seemingly impossible — that we relish most. Because with an agile team, substantial access to capital and industry-leading expertise, those are exactly the kinds of problems we’re built to solve. For more information on CenterPoint Properties, follow us on LinkedIn. For all media inquiries, including requests for interviews with CenterPoint executives, please contact email@example.com or 630.586.8285.