Businesses in California are finding it difficult to find industrial space according to a report released in recent weeks by a leading commercial real estate firm. A Colliers International study of commercial property trends in the Golden State reveals that Los Angeles has the lowest warehouse vacancy rate in the country. Only 1.6% of the city’s 1 billion square feet of warehouse space is currently available, and companies looking for storage facilities in Orange County face an almost equally tight market.
According to the study, the shortage of warehouse space is being caused by the surging popularity of online shopping. Warehouses that stood empty for years are now being eagerly snapped up by internet retailers looking to set up storage and distribution centers. The shortage is particularly challenging for companies in California’s booming marijuana industry as state law places restrictions on where they can set up business.
Cannabis cultivators and distributors must operate in what are known as green zones, and they cannot rent warehouse space that is within 600 feet of a school. The time it takes to obtain regulatory approval for a marijuana business can also be off-putting to commercial landlords who want to take advantage of a hot market and close deals quickly. These hurdles and soaring rents have prompted some large growers to eschew the rental market completely and search for land suitable for development instead.
A booming commercial property market creates opportunities for owners, landlords, and developers, but the legal obstacles they face are often formidable. Attorneys with commercial real estate experience could anticipate permit, land use, and environmental issues and take steps to address them in a timely manner. Attorneys could also help property owners who wish to convert empty spaces into warehouses and companies interested in pursuing construction projects.