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REAL ESTATE : Warehouses Found in Short Supply in Orange County and Elsewhere

December 21, 1987|Michael Flagg, Times Staff Writer

While hotels and offices are overbuilt in Orange County and elsewhere around the country, one type of commercial building is still often in short supply: warehouses.

The reason--according to a recent survey by Grubb & Ellis Co.--is that prices for industrial land have been bid up by developers who anticipated building more profitable types of buildings, such as offices or research and development buildings. That makes the land too expensive for warehouses and distribution centers.

In fact, the brokerage company said, it recently picked the county as the top U.S. growth market for warehouses and distribution centers, based on anticipated demand caused by employment growth in the wholesale trade industry. Employment in the local industry has grown nearly 10% a year since 1980.

"This was a surprising result, given the area's reputation as an upscale high-tech economy," Grubb & Ellis senior research associate Jay Little said recently. "Wholesale trade employment only accounts for about 6% of total jobs in the area, which is about average for the nation.

"The impressive rate of growth would seem to be a result of a process of catching up with the normal level of trade services."

Also among the top 10 areas for warehouse demand, according to the survey: Monmouth County, N.J.; San Diego; Sacramento; Orlando, Fla.; Middlesex County, N.J.; Long Island, N.Y.; Tampa, Fla., and Phoenix, Ariz.

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