For anyone that is new to industrial real estate, here is a quick primer on the different types of industrial properties and what they are typically used for:
Distribution (aka Cross-dock, Front-Load)
Distribution buildings tend to be the bigger box type facilities. They can be single tenant or split between multiple large tenants. In a front-load building, you can usually see the office and the loading docks from the road.
Cross-docks are usually larger, and they have loading docks on both sides of the building. Offices are usually allocated to the end cap corners. Fun fact: Cross Dock space is more commonly used when products will not be stored for long periods of time.
Goods are offloaded from an inbound truck, moved “across the dock”, and immediately reloaded into an outbound truck. Rental rates fluctuate based on the amount of space, obviously. The rate for 100K SF is going to be different than the rate for 1M SF.
Aerial of Weatherford Industrial Park (Crow Holdings) in Stafford. The cross-dock is between the front-load and rear-load buildings. It shares a truck court with the rear-loader.
Flex (Rear-Load)
Flex buildings are the “Mullet” of the industrial RE landscape. Instead of “Business in the front, party in the back”, Flex spaces have heavy office space in the front, and warehousing and loading in the back.
Class A flex buildings tend to look like a low-rise office building from street level. These spaces are usually more expensive than pure distribution space because of the higher office build-out. They also tend to offer visibility and access from major roads. Aerial view of class A 100K SF rear-load building Site plan of rear-load building
Manufacturing (MFG)
MFG buildings are a little bit of a wild card. They range from brand-new state of the art facilities to aging rusty death-traps. Often single tenant. Often contain very specialized, expensive accessories; cranes, heavy power, 100% HVAC, paint booths, etc. 50,000 SF MFG building with a couple 10-20 ton cranes
Outdoor Storage
Typical used to store equipment, vehicles, and other large objects outdoors. Surface area is usually stabilized with some type of crushed aggregate material, or paved with concrete. These properties can make great covered land plays in infill locations. 15 acre stabilized lay-down yard; South Houston.
Outdoor Storage
Typically used to store equipment, vehicles and other large objects outdoors. Site surfaces tend to be stabilized with crushed aggregate material or paved with concrete. These sites can make for good covered land plays in infill locations. 15 acre lay-down yard south of Houston.
Small-Bay Business Parks
Multi-tenant facilities that can range from as small as 10,000 SF up to over 300,000 SF. Space sizes typical range from 1,000 SF – 5,000 SF. Common configuration is somewhere along the lines of 1,000 SF of warehouse and 250 SF of office.
They tend to offer shorter terms leases (1 year terms are common). These are great for smaller businesses and shops that have outgrown their garage but are not ready to commit to a bigger space for 3-5 years. Around Houston, these sites seem to print money.
They often have tenant waiting lists. The downside is that because there are so many small tenants, these types of properties tend to be a lot more management intensive then any of the other industrial property types.
20,000 SF small-bay business prk110,000 SF small-bay business park

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