4 Emerging Trends in Warehouse Design: Middle Tennessee

Demand for industrial properties continues to boom across the US, and Middle Tennessee is no exception. But as technology advances and e-commerce continues to grow, how will warehouse design evolve to accommodate? We’ve aggregated the top value-driving trends we’re seeing in warehouse design.

Trend 1: Taller Warehouses

As the prevalence of e-commerce continues to grow, tenants are looking for buildings with more clear height to increase their efficiencies, along with their volume. JLL recently reported an average clear height of 36’-40’, which has increased from a 1990 average of 24’-26’. This ranges significantly across markets, with more dense markets opting to invest in taller speculative warehouses. Middle Tennessee may not be considered a dense market just yet, but over the past three years we’ve seen steady demand for buildings at 36’ and with the recent influx of e-commerce users, we anticipate an increase in demand for 40’, especially as land becomes more expensive and scarce.  

Trend 2:  Wider Bay Spacing

Bay spacing has also been increasing in recent years. “Wider is better” is generally accepted in both single load and cross docked facilities. Column spacing has increased from the prior standard of 50’ to more recent specifications ranging from 52’, 54’ and 56’ wide. Typically, wider bay spacing can be accommodated in larger, taller buildings.

Although spacing in the depth direction is less critical, deeper loading bay (speed bay) depths are also becoming more frequent. While 60’ speed bays used to be the norm, it’s not uncommon to find 70’ bays in buildings approaching 1,000,000 SF and greater. 

Trend 3: Increased Power Capacity

A building’s electrical infrastructure supports a variety of requirements in the modern warehouse. Automation brings about more material handling equipment that needs to be powered and with the rapid pace of technological advances, it also means providing the flexibility for quick and easy expansion.  

Employee comfort, which can be a significant selling point for warehouse operators, requires conditioning the warehouse space. While conditioning seems simple, there are many factors to consider. The demand on the electrical infrastructure is the most critical: conditioning can often increase a building’s electrical load by 50% or more.

Lastly, when designing multi-tenant warehouse buildings, it’s important to understand the desired tenant mix. Designing the facility to be flexible in a multi-tenant scenario can also have a major impact on a building’s electrical infrastructure.

Trend 4: Increased Parking

Despite the hype around driverless cars and trucks, parking ratios remain high and are continuing to increase with the rise in Last Mile distribution.  While ratios at 1/2,000 SF used to be common, they are now being driven to 1/1,000 SF or higher. Not only is the need for more automobile parking increasing, but so is the requirement for greater trailer storage and delivery van parking. Increased parking and greater trailer storage have become common place among speculative developers, often at the expense of building coverage. As a result, traffic circulation is something to pay close attention to in the early planning phases.

As the global pandemic continues to disrupt supply chains and alter consumer spending patterns, the short- and long-term impacts on warehouse design are still evolving. A trusted partner can help you apply these trends and outline the cost and schedule implications early in the process, ensuring that you have total visibility and numbers to rely on before construction begins.

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