David Birnbrey

ATLANTA—What do you get when you cross a retail real estate advisory firm with an industrial advisory firm? A new joint venture called Retail Logistics Group.

Two of the nation’s largest real estate service providers just launched a joint venture to establish a consulting group, independent of their primary firms. Retail Logistics is all about addressing what many see as the growing importance of distribution centers to retailers’ sales channels.  

Binswanger, which provides business location consulting, acquisition, financing, project management, and disposition of distribution and manufacturing facilities, is teaming up with The Shopping Center Group, the largest retail-only real estate advisory firm in the Eastern United States. Under the leadership of Jeff Binswanger, president of Binswanger, and David Birnbrey, co-CEO of The Shopping Center Group, the new firm wants to advise retailers on the most effective site location strategies for distribution centers based on a combination of traditional retail and industrial site selection criteria.

“The evolving role of a distribution center as both a supplier to traditional storefronts as well as a virtual point-of-sale for e-commerce, makes the combination of these two industry leaders’ proven approaches to site selection a no brainer,” says Birnbrey.  “As a team, we’re uniquely qualified to identify that perfect site where the optimum criteria for both disciplines intersect.”

As the principals see it, increased relevance of distribution centers is forcing retailers to integrate traditional storefront site selection criteria with that of the industrial counterpart in an effort to be closer to their customers.  As a result, they explain, retailers today are quickly embracing an emerging concept known as “omni-channeling” in an effort to support consumers’ expectations of a seamless shopping experience that involves websites, mobile applications and brick-and-mortar stores. 

Binswanger put it this way: A distribution center‘s proximity to consumers is now more important than ever before. Retail Logistics is positioning itself as a go-to consultant for companies, offering a combination of customer profiling, mapping, demographics, and psychographics.

Binswanger says this combination is “traditionally used by real estate departments to identify productive store locations—with location analysis based on labor, cost, logistics, operating environment, quality of life and incentive studies—and typically used by industrial real estate professionals to identify the most suitable points of distribution.” Retail Logistics, he says will “support this new paradigm shift and identify industrial sites that ultimately improve the consumer experience—the driving force of retail success.”