The Real Deal interviewed Senior Vice President of Investments Evan Lippow and Senior Vice President of Asset Management Bob Andrews searching for the keys to the West Coast Team’s success in recent years.
Read what Lippow and Andrews said about CenterPoint’s strategy, the talent they’ve added to the team over the past year, and more in “A Long-Term Growth Approach to Industrial’s New Boom.”
Since its founding in 1993, CenterPoint Properties has distinguished itself as a force in the industrial real estate industry. Long before the e-commerce boom, the company has built its reputation on its development and investment expertise in coastal and inland port markets, streamlining and bringing value to supply chains for nearly 30 years. The firm’s forward-thinking approach has also led to significant growth from the South Bronx to L.A., laying the foundation for commercial speed and agility. With regional offices across the nation, one of CenterPoint’s recent growth markets has been in the major port markets on the West Coast, where they’ve recognized the need to develop facilities that can accommodate fast turnaround and proximity to key access corridors.
“While other companies are accomplishing their growth by acquiring large portfolios, we’re digging into some of the most challenging markets across the country and meticulously unearthing the absolute best assets users need,” explains Evan Lippow, Senior Vice President of Investments. “CenterPoint continues to be one of the most active investors in markets with particularly high barriers for entry because we have the resources and experience to bring an immediate competitive advantage wherever we establish a footprint.”
CenterPoint’s aggressive investment activity along the West Coast – 17 acquisitions and more than $700 million invested in its target markets of L.A., the Bay Area, and Seattle in 2020 alone – has Lippow expanding his team. In recent months, Investment Officer Ashley Vanacore, Investment Manager JP Perez and Investment Analyst Tyler Konkol have come onboard to help Lippow and Investment Coordinator Will Lagomarsino shoulder the heavy workload.
CenterPoint’s consistent investments have not gone unnoticed throughout the industrial sector. The company’s proven track record and financial stability have resulted in numerous long-lasting partnerships across the country and significant brand recognition. CenterPoint is regularly atop the list of companies trusted to close deals and ensure an optimized and efficient supply chain for their customers.
An Eye on the Future
Throughout its history, CenterPoint has proven itself to be ahead of the market. As far back as 2006, for example, the company branded itself as a logistics-first platform, seeing the coming need for port-proximate space in top infill markets. Today, the market has borne this out. With the proliferation of online retail accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, these platforms are more important than ever. With logistics vacancies at a minuscule one percent in many submarkets like New York/New Jersey and L.A. – two of CenterPoint’s primary markets – those that can deliver quality facilities quickly are at a major advantage.
“The future we were planning for 15 years ago is here, and the ability to mobilize capital quickly and the agility to solve our customers’ toughest logistics challenges are our hallmarks,” explains Bob Andrews, Senior Vice President of Asset Management. Andrews is an industry veteran who not only oversees the leasing of CenterPoint’s West Coast portfolio, he helps the team evaluate investment opportunities. “We set out a long time ago to identify logistically advantaged real estate and that’s a direction we’ve maintained ever since. By positioning ourselves as a logistics provider that can essentially handle any throughput, we were able to prioritize building port supply chains and connect our real estate to major ports and transportation arteries. Digging in early was a huge advantage, and it serves us well as we know the landscape and can seize strategic opportunities swiftly.”
CenterPoint has built on its momentum in the Midwest and the East Coast by executing eight acquisitions in Los Angeles this year alone. It also recently completed the construction of CenterPoint Landing, a 466,000 square foot on-port facility in Oakland. This facility represents a rare opportunity within the Port of Oakland’s Seaport footprint, able to transport shipping containers between Asia and Oakland in just 13 days. The Port also features a water depth of 50 feet, meaning that the world’s largest container ships can dock there. CenterPoint’s development leverages roughly 123 acres affording users plenty of parking and outdoor storage space, particularly attractive features sought after by high-volume logistics customers. This location alone provides access to 14.5 million consumers, making CenterPoint Landing a premier port facility and making CenterPoint an immediate force in the regional market.
Above all else, the surrounding community of Oakland can look forward to expanding job opportunities that range from working within the sector of logistics that support the influx of e-commerce businesses all the way through to customer-facing careers that help drive business success. CenterPoint’s activities continue to engage across several sectors of real estate and development to streamline supply chains around the country.
Moreover, CenterPoint brings improvements that benefit the real estate baseline of sustainability – CenterPoint Landing is a LEED Silver-certified facility that uses 25% less energy, emits 34% lessCO2, and consumes 11% less water needed to operate. The facility features several state-of-the-art amenities, including solar roofing panels, energy-efficient motion sensor lights, and other key operating equipment to help maintain low operating costs and energy usage. One major key factor is its ability to save 150% dray savings compared to other West Coast ports in the area.
“The tenants we serve have a need for flexibility,” says Lippow. “By matching up parts of buildings to ease congestion and identifying spaces that are best suited for throughput, our strategy revolves around creating more area for traffic and working within larger yards. With e-commerce congestion exacerbated by the pandemic, the services we provide and our ability to cut through the congestion are critical. Recent events have created a perfect storm within the industrial market that CenterPoint is uniquely qualified to navigate.”
Remaining True to Its Roots
The key to CenterPoint’s ability to maneuver through today’s industrial landscape is rooted in the ideas that have brought it so much success: understanding regional commerce needs and delivering on them through modern facilities that empower commerce. With low vacancy, the demand is there, but tenants are also more discerning than ever in the spaces they use. CenterPoint is ideally positioned as a firm that has led the industrial real estate sector with spaces suited to the short- and long-term distribution needs, speed being paramount. As an example, CenterPoint has maximized parking and loading dock space. With speed to doorsteps an obvious goal for e-commerce companies in 2021, users need to be able to quickly and efficiently turnover goods and materials just as much as they need expansive storage space. Modernization is sometimes about simple solutions, and maneuverability is critical.
“We specialize in day-to-day logistics because that’s where we see demand,” explains Andrews. “In addition to our vertical integration within the industrial market, one of our key strengths is simply patience. In areas like Northern California, where I grew up, we’re able to observe local landscapes, identify client demands and meet them. CenterPoint’s ability to look for opportunities and see values where others don’t is what makes us a significant player within our market.”
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.