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GRI Light Industrial and Logistics 2019 - Key Takeaways

3 MIN READNovember 12, 2019

The 6th and 7th of November marked the first ever GRI Light Industrial and Logistics event, which gathered over 100 senior real estate investors, developers, asset owners, 3pl’s and occupiers active in European sheds. Europe’s only light industrial and logistics event discussed core, core+, pan-Euro acquisition strategies and asset class disruptors in GRI’s classic, collegial and closed-door format. 

The event kicked off by a ‘fireside chat’ with Ben Bannatyne, President, Prologis Europe. Talking about the future of the logistics sector, Ben said “Real estate and technology are converging rapidly and tech advances are critical to successfully investing in, developing and operating real estate today. Our sector is undergoing a transformative change and a new phase of growth is just ahead”. Next followed an in depth view of the true fundamentals driving the sector with Andrew Allen, Global Head of Research, Aberdeen Standard, which covered the real truth behind the drivers of the sector. One of the most memorable takeaways from the presentation and subsequent Q&A was that if location truly is king, then customer demand is the emperor. 

The day finished off by debating the latest investment trends in core, value add acquisition strategies for the sector, with key investors expressing varied views on what is considered safe and stable over the next few years, given e-commerce and tenant demand is currently quite unpredictable to price up. 

The second day of GRI Light Industrial & Logistics began with a lively panel delving into the rising demand for omnichannel retail, e-commerce penetration and the knock on effect this is having on the upswing being enjoyed for both urban logistics and light industrial. This was led by Paul Graham, Chairman, Clarion Gramercy, with input from Charles Pease (XPO Logistics), Raimund Paetzmann (Zalando), Marie Kaniac (Klepierre) and Klaus Stodick (UPS).   

After the keynote, participants engaged in discussion topics covering acquisition strategies and rent pricing for primary cities vs secondary cities. ‘Where to find core yields - is cash on cash becoming tighter and tighter?’ proved a popular topic for investors looking to assess the value of whether to repurpose for light industrial. Emmanuel Van Der Stichele, CEO, Mileway said 'the event provided insightful discussions which highlighted the strong interest by both occupiers and investors in last mile logistics real estate." GRI’s first full foray into logistics finished with a collegial debate on urban demand and land pricing, AI and automation, whether the Amazon effect on spec development is unique or setting up a new norm, as well as understanding the rise of JV’s and platforms aiming to institutionalise the asset classes and scaling up to a new level. 

 

GRI Light Industrial and Logistics will return on the 5th of November 2020. 

Article by Matt Harris

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