The Palmetto Airport Center at 6100-6188 NW 74th Ave. is shown above. The property, managed by JLL, is an example of a warehouse comprising small bay spaces.
Demand rises for small industrial spaces in South Florida. So much so that one team launched a small bay division — the warehouse industry’s term for smaller units — in late January to meet clients’ requests.
The commercial real estate firm JLL, which is headquartered in Chicago, opened a new division in South Florida for leasing and managing warehouse space between 2,500 and 10,000 square feet, according to JLL’s South Florida industrial lead, Brian Smith.
With demand high and supply limited, the lease is 20 percent to 30 percent higher per square foot than large dry warehouses, Smith said. A dry warehouse ranges from $7 to $9 per square foot in South Florida, according to CBRE.
With a presence nationwide and in 80 countries, it is the first time the company has launched a small bay division. It will hire up to three new property management employees in the next six months to oversee leasing, management and new construction in South Florida.
JLL feels confident in establishing a dedicated staff for small bays now that the users are expanding to include institutional players and property managers, including Brookfield and Blackstone, Smith said.
Of the total 11 million square feet that the company leases, JLL oversees 1.7 million square feet for small bay multi-tenant properties in Doral, Medley, Miami Gardens and Hialeah, Smith said. It aims to lease from three to five million more square feet in the next few years.
“There’s tremendous amount of product in South Florida,” said Tim Rivers, JLL Florida market director. “We intend to bring this division to other markets across the state but South Florida is the perfect place to start.”
Small bay multi-tenant properties are defined by slightly different characteristics than dry industrial spaces and cold storage. The users need 18- to 20-foot ceilings, one or two docked doors — vertical sliding doors at the loading docks — and a small office space. That’s compared to dry warehouses, which offer 30-foot ceilings and multiple docked doors.
Distribution companies are the most common users, Smith said. Companies distributing a range of products — think outdoor furniture, sleep apnea CPAP masks, car parts, photo supplies, hot tubs — require these spaces.
Population growth and tourism are driving interest for small bay centers, Smith said: “Those two things are big drivers for the small bay business in South Florida because hotels have people that supply uniforms, they have people who supply restaurant supplies, they have people who are supplying meat and produce. It is a trickle down effect with hospitality and tourism growing as well as population growth.”