IRVINE, CA-The story of warehouse and distribution development in the Inland Empire for many years was almost solely the story of huge buildings erected in and around Ontario, which has grown into one of the world’s largest concentrations of modern logistics buildings. But with Ontario area land becoming scarce, companies like Chicago-based First Industrial Realty Trust are looking elsewhere in the Inland Empire to meet the growing demand for the ever-larger distribution facilities—from corporations and logistics firms.

First Industrial has amassed a portfolio of more than 1,300 acres of mainly raw land for some 26 million sf of such future development in two of the places in the Inland Empire where experts agree that the newest and biggest waves of distribution space development will occur: Along the Interstate 215 Corridor from Moreno Valley South to the City of Perris and in the High Desert region. Phil Bowman, Irvine-based senior vice president with First Industrial, tells that the Chicago-based REIT expects to develop its 26 million sf over the next 10 years or so.

First Industrial already owns about 2.5 million sf in Los Angeles County, where it focuses on primarily on infill repositioning and redevelopment, and about one million sf of existing space in Orange County and the Inland Empire. Bowman, who also maintains an office in Riverside where First Industrial’s development group is located, tells that the company expects to break ground by the third quarter on a spec project that typifies the product users are seeking today. It’s a 770,000-sf building under one roof called the Nandina Distribution Center II. The development site is at the northwest corner of Indian and Nandina.

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