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VOL. 114 | NO. 138 | Monday, July 17, 2000

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By SUZANNE THOMPSON Industrial development shows no sign of weakening By SUZANNE THOMPSON The Daily News It doesnt appear Memphis will be relinquishing its title of "Americas Distribution Center" any time soon. Industrial development continues to be one of the hottest sectors in local real estate, according to market analysts. "The trend is the bigger the building, the faster it leases," said Bayard Snowden, partner at Colliers Wilkinson Snowden. Ten years ago, a 300,000-square-foot building was considered large; by the mid-90s, that number grew to about 400,000. Today, many spec buildings contain 650,000 square feet or more. Panattoni Development now has a 650,000-square-foot building under construction at Holmes and Pleasant Hill roads. Industrial Developments International has an 830,000-square-foot building in progress with plans for another 720,000-square-foot speculative building in the same park. A building containing 1 million square feet is rumored to be in the works for Southeast Shelby County soon, Snowden said. The movement toward bigger buildings is not exclusive to Memphis, but is representative of a national trend, he said. Tim Moore, marketing representative for Prologis Trust, a global real estate investment trust, agreed. "Its part of the same trend weve seen in the last five years. Buildings are getting bigger and momentum is continuing," he said. Prologis is building a 360,000-square-foot building at Holmes and Lamar Avenue, and the company is planning a 500,000-square-foot building at Holmes and Crumpler Road in Distriplex Farms. Larger buildings require more land, and as development continues, shrinking availability is driving the land prices higher. "Sites are very pricey," Snowden said. "Like a lot of markets where supply of raw land becomes less, the average has sort of crept up." Owners of raw land are now asking about $55,000 per acre, he said, a significant increase from the $35,000- to $40,000-per-acre price developers were used to paying just two years ago. Higher land prices and a steadily decreasing supply of raw land are forcing developers to look farther for industrial development sites. "One area that people are starting to talk about is Millington," Snowden said. "In Millington, they are in a position to attract some big buildings." Since the U.S. Navy pared its operations in Millington, the federal government has given large parcels of land to local government, he said. "The question is, Is anybody bullish enough about that market to begin speculative development up there? Were not at this time," said Al Andrews, local partner at Panattoni Development. Industrial development already has moved across the state line into North Mississippi, where there are two build-to-suit facilities at Goodman Road and Interstate 55 and another at Church Road and I-55. Panattoni is building the facility at Church and I-55, and Andrews said the company plans to develop 1.5 million square feet of industrial space on the 110 acres it owns there. "I think there will begin to be some speculative buildings in this corridor," he said. Olive Branch, Miss., now has two industrial parks, the Olive Branch Industrial Park and Metro Industrial Park. "I think you will begin to see speculative buildings being built in a major fashion down there," Snowden said. Panattoni will not build in Olive Branch, unless asked to construct a build-to-suit building, because of the land inventory the company has in Southaven, Miss., Andrews said. Moore said Prologis was exploring the possibility of building in North Mississippi, but for now, would continue to focus on development in Shelby County.
PROPERTY SALES 120 120 16,027
MORTGAGES 64 64 9,986
BUILDING PERMITS 203 206 38,142
BANKRUPTCIES 21 28 7,500