Before the pandemic, Southern California was home to the leading industrial market in the country with vacancy rates at record lows and a massive construction pipeline trying to keep up with demand. Then, during the shelter-in-place orders, ecommerce shopping skyrocketed, a record number of containers traveled through San Pedro Port complex and industrial demand reached a new record.

The event has deepened supply-demand imbalance in Southern California, and now developers are looking for every way to bring new supply to market. A new JLL report titled Finding Any Opportunity to Build highlights the trend toward industrial conversion projects as one way to deliver new supply to market despite limited availability of land. This year, 12 industrial conversion projects have broken ground or been announced, and office buildings in industrial-zoned areas are the prime candidate for such projects, according to the report. Orange County is home to the largest number of industrial conversion projects with nine of the 12 projects underway. All 12 projects will deliver 160,000 square feet of industrial space to the market, helping to ease the record low 1.3% vacancy rate, although only adding a small fraction of space to the total supply.

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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