CRE Investors Shifting Gears Into Truck Terminals

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As the commercial real estate industry continues to focus heavily on the industrial market, a number of CRE investors are turning to trucking terminals as an investment strategy — if they can find opportunity.

There were $1.4B worth of truck terminal sales in the U.S. from 2018 to 2022, double the previous sales volume, as a result of the pandemic boosting the growth of e-commerce.

And this year has accelerated even further, with $1B closed so far in 2022, according to data from CoStar. 

Landlords and investors have increasingly aimed to capitalize on this boom in demand for outdoor storage space and truck/trailer parking in part due to the low maintenance costs of the asset class, and the tendency for tenants to stay long-term.

In one such deal, JPMorgan Chase and Realterm Logistics purchased 40 acres of industrial truck parking land south of Downtown Atlanta for $53.5M at the end of last year. The site had been purchased the year before by WPM Commercial founder Price Muir for just under $10M.  

Despite the appeal, deals aren’t easy to come by.

“Truck terminals are a real hard product type to buy because there’s pent-up demand from e-commerce companies, retailers and trucking companies for facilities to move goods and consolidate product,” Bridge Logistics Managing Director Paul Jones said to CoStar. “At the same time, they’re very hard to get approved and built because municipalities and communities really don’t like the stigma of truck traffic.”

Truck terminals are often owned by longtime operators and rarely go on sale, and big-time banking firms such as JPMorgan Chase are often first in line to purchase the ones that do become available — and have more than enough capital to outbid the competition.