Walter Byrd, Transwestern

(Save the date: RealShare Industrial 2012 comes to The Bankers Club, Miami, December 5 – 6.)

MIAMI-Demand is the driver for all things industrial in South Florida. So says Walter Byrd, managing director of Transwestern.

Byrd is the moderator of Real Share Industrial’s Transaction Panel: Outlook for Investment and Leasing on Thursday. The event is being held at The Bankers Club in Miami. We caught up with Byrd to get his take on Miami’s industrial market.

“Demand shows no sign of letting up as the recent real estate stats show a vacancy rate of 7.3%,” Byrd tells “The key drivers in the market continue to show good strength as international cargo through Miami International Airport is on track to record its second best year in in its history with over 2,000,000 tons of cargo. Trade through the Port of Miami is expected to continue to increase with growth of 3% to 4% year over year.”

Byrd also noted that Miami’s tourism sector continues to outpace much of the rest of the U.S.—and this directly impacts the demand and utilization of industrial space. The final significant demand driver, real estate construction, appears to have now come back to life with over 15 new condominium projects underway in South Broward and Miami Dade County, he adds.  In some prime Miami residential markets, competition for upscale properties is driving prices to near record levels.

“Miami’s balanced economy, trade, tourism, construction and domestic consumption has enabled the industrial sector to ride out the worst recession in 80 years,” Byrd says. “While vacancy rates increased and rental rates fell, the underlying fundamental strength of our demand drivers moderated the recession and has resulted in Miami riding out the storm and being one of the first markets to see significant new development.”

There is 800,000 square feet under construction at Miami International Airport. That’s in addition to more than 2 million square feet of new industrial space is either under construction or planned for delivery in the next 12 to 18 months.  

“Demand for this space is equally as strong with a million square feet of large users currently scouting the market for blocks of space over 100,000 square feet,” Byrd says. “While all the users may not take new space, or some may vacate other space, positive absorption in the market is expected to continue through 2013 and 2014.”