The Evolution of the Warehouse: Trends in Technology, Design Development & Delivery

The rapid expansion of e-commerce sales has spurred demand for industrial real estate, including for large regional distribution centers and small fulfillment centers located in urban and suburban areas. The acceleration of delivery timelines has also reshaped industrial building interiors, as online retailers and third-party logistics firms have made substantial investments in new technologies such as collaborative robots and automated storage and retrieval systems. In addition to increasing the productivity and profitability of industrial assets, new technologies are also allowing retailers and building owners to add distribution uses to existing retail properties.

Written by Industry Relations Head Steve Weikal and REI Lab Lead Researcher James Scott, The NAIOP Research Foundation commissioned this report to provide the commercial real estate development community with insight into current and future trends in building and logistics technologies and their implications for industrial real estate.

“The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated an already growing demand for industrial real estate, particularly warehouse facilities that support e-commerce delivery in both urban and suburban markets. This demand is driving innovation, and critical technology improvements can improve the efficiency, responsiveness and flexibility of these logistics facilities.”

– Thomas J. Bisacquino, NAIOP President and CEO