Three Sectors Drive Upstate to Record Year
- The industrial market had a record year in 2016.
- The market is maturing to a point sustainable for development of larger speculative buildings.
Three Sectors Drive Growth
The Upstate industrial market has seen a record year, with 30 new buildings delivered and nearly 8 million square feet absorbed. In comparison, the annual absorption for 2015 was 2.4 million square feet. The large absorption brought the market vacancy rate to 6.9% at the end of the fourth quarter. The high absorption is due to three major industrial drivers pushing the demand for industrial space in the market: advanced materials manufacturing, logistics and automotive.
The advanced materials sector is manufacturing specialty chemicals and materials, such as plastics and polymers, for the automotive, specialty textile and aerospace sectors. This sector of the Upstate industrial market spun out of the expansive textile industry in the region kickstarted in 1884 by Milliken and Company, a leader in textile research and an employer of 3,400 people in the region. In 2016, ten new companies manufacturing advanced materials moved to the region while six existing companies expanded. One was Teijin, which recently made a $600 million investment, the second largest in the area since 2007. The company will be hiring 220 people to manufacture carbon fibers for the automotive and aerospace sectors. The largest investment in the Upstate was Toray, another advanced materials manufacturer and a competitor to Teijin, which made a $1 billion investment in 2014. Other companies that invested in 2016 include Proper Polymers, WG Plastics Technology, B&W Fiberglass and Ritrama.
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