The Research Triangle Park region is beginning to witness a trend as warehouse and industrial construction starts to move away from traditional Triangle locations in search of cheaper land and labor.

More than half of the Triangle’s warehouse market centers around Research Triangle Park, where large corporations need warehouses to store and distribute their products. But scarcity of open land and traffic congestion are pushing projects eastward.

The 152-acre warehouse and industrial project that Craig Davis Properties is planning in Garner, a few miles south of Raleigh, NC is perhaps the first indication of this trend.

The Craig Davis project will entail 1.8 million sf of industrial and warehouse space in Greenfield Business Park at Interstate 40 and U.S. 70. Also, Duke-Weeks Realty is considering a new industrial project in East Raleigh.

Most of Craig Davis’ warehouses are at Research Tri-Center, a 350-acre complex on the west side of RTP that the company began developing about 12 years ago. Craig Davis dominates warehouse space in the Triangle, with about 2.7 million sf, or about one-fifth of the market.

Richard Strader, Craig Davis’ managing partner for the Carolinas, says the company believes the infrastructure is there to support industrial development with fewer labor and traffic problems.

Andrew Kelton, senior vice president of Duke-Weeks Realty, says land prices can be as much as 33% lower outside the RTP submarket. Demand for parcels near RTP can drive the price to $70,000 or more per acre, while land east and southeast of Raleigh is around $40,000 per acre.

Although demand for warehouse space has been steady in the past year, there is a vacancy rate of about 10%. But Kelton says fast-growing companies in the Triangle, as well as companies attracted to the area would help fill the planned facilities.

Large warehouse projects would bring more truck traffic and industrial jobs to the Triangle, which historically has lagged Charlotte and Greensboro in attracting companies that focus on warehousing and product distribution.

Garner’s director of planning Brad Bass says he hopes the Craig Davis project will attract more office and service industry jobs to Garner.

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