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Columbus remains one of the most active industrial real estate markets nationwide

Columbus remains one of the most active industrial real estate markets nationwide

VanTrust Real Estate is on a streak in Central Ohio.

Since coming to the area a few years ago, the company building as much industrial space as it can to match demand.

Already this year, the company has signed two leases that fill its just-finished 253,000-square-foot Innovation I building at 8200 Innovation Campus Way in New Albany – Voyant Beauty is taking 158,000 square feet and Axium Packaging is taking 95,000.

To keep up, the company planned a new building – the 234,000-square-foot Innovation II at 8300 Innovation Campus Way.

Before a single shovel hit the ground, the building was spoken for – Rieke, part of consumer packaging group TriMas Packaging, has leased the whole space.

“Leasing the entire building before breaking ground speaks to the strong interest in New Albany and Central Ohio," said Andy Weeks, VanTrust's local executive vice president.

Colliers data shows the region's industrial vacancy rate dropped to just over 4% in the first quarter of the year – the lowest in three years – despite 5.1 million square feet of absorption. Overall asking rates are up to $4.01 per square foot.

Colliers noted a "skyrocket" in warehouse space, already in-demand in this region, and it expects that demand to continue throughout 2021.

Eight new leases for spaces larger than 200,000 square feet have been signed, with the two largest topping 800,000 square feet – JoAnn Fabrics' new distribution facility at 1020 Enterprise Pkwy. and a new Honeywell International Inc. facility at 220 Park West Dr.

Sales activity is proving strong, too. In the first quarter, 23 industrial properties totaling 2.6 million square feet were sold for a total of $159 million.

Some of the larger sales include LBA Realty's purchase of 6198 Green Pointe Dr. for $56.1 million and 9750 Innovation Campus Way for $24.5 million, and Equity Industrial Partners' purchase of 8355 Highfield Drive for $31.6 million.

Four big projects were completed in the quarter, including the 1.1-million-square-foot 70 Enterprise Pkwy. and the 742,000-square-foot 4077 Airbase Road. Central Ohio counts 55 projects totaling 24 million square feet in the pipeline, Colliers said.

With its active pipeline, the city also landed in the eye of CommercialSearch, which placed the city 12th among all U.S. markets for new industrial properties to be completed this year. The region will add 8.9 million square feet of industrial space across 18 projects this year, compared to 6.5 million last year.

In the Midwest, only Indianapolis and Chicago had more industrial space going up, CommercialSearch found.