Midlands’ Central Location to Help Grow Industrial Market

Key Takeaways

  • The industrial market in Columbia, SC and the surrounding Midlands area continues to strengthen, ending the third quarter of 2015 with declining vacancy, positive absorption and increasing rental rates.
  • The Midlands is centrally located between Greenville and Charleston’s tight industrial markets, providing efficient logistics with more options for space than nearby markets.
  • Two large industrial buildings will become vacant during the fourth quarter, adding more than 1 million square feet of quality space to the market’s available inventory.
  • Speculative construction remains limited despite significant demand for space.
  • Capital investments from both domestic and foreign firms remain strong throughout the region.
  • Industrial employment increases as demand for industrial services grows.
  • Activity is up at the Port of Charleston and South Carolina Inland Port.

Location is Key as Transportation Costs Increase

Recent site selection surveys by Area Development Magazine reflect the growing importance of transportation costs and efficient logistics.  As transportation costs increase and account for a growing portion of operating expenses, companies are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their logistics and supply chain.  The top three site selection factors in both the consultants and corporate surveys were highway accessibility, availability of skilled labor and labor costs.  Real estate and labor costs have historically been the top contributors to operating costs, but as transportation costs increase, logistics is becoming the top site selection factor for many distribution centers and manufacturing facilities.  The surveys’ results bring positive news to landlords and investors in the Midlands market as the region offers efficient logistics via its accessibility from major interstates and connectivity to the South Carolina Inland Port in Greer and the Port of Charleston.  Additionally, technical training programs provide the new talent required for industrial labor at low labor rates given the state’s low unionization rate and affordable cost-of-living.

A recent study by The Boyd Company, Inc. ranked Columbia, SC among the top markets for warehouse locations given the market’s low operating costs compared to other markets surveyed.  Popularity in ecommerce is driving warehouse demand as retailers select distribution and fulfillment centers in close proximity to customers.

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