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DENVER-Industrial developers, for the most part, acted responsibly last year and avoided overbuilding in most US markets, according to the “U.S. Construction Pipeline: Year-End 2003″ report researched and released by locally based ProLogis. “Last year, developers continued to exercise general restraint and self-discipline in most US markets,” says Leonard Sahling, first vice president of ProLogis, the world’s largest industrial REIT.

“This trend of controlled development is a welcome departure from the past exuberance that has fueled the boom-and-bust cycles that have dogged the commercial real estate industry,” adds Sahling, who heads the ProLogis Research Group.

Key findings of the pipeline report include:

* Newly started bulk distribution and warehouse projects increased in 2003 after bottoming out in 2002. New starts in the nation’s top 30 markets totaled 70 million sf last year, up 17% from the year before.

* Despite the increase from 2002, total new starts were nearly 40% below the cyclical peak reached in 2000.

* Last year’s increase in new starts was tilted toward “spec” projects, which accounted for 59% of total starts during 2003, compared to 45% during the previous year.

* With deliveries usually lagging behind starts by six to 12 months, it comes as no surprise that deliveries continued to trend downward during 2003.

* Newly delivered bulk warehouses and distribution centers mounted to 63 million sf in 2003, compared to 77 million sf during the previous year.

* Six of the 30 markets reported volumes of new starts for 2003 of more than double what they had been in 2002: Charlotte,NC, Columbus, OH, Indianapolis, Louisville, Northern New Jersey and Phoenix.

* Four of the 30 markets reported no new starts at all during 2003: Austin,Tx, San Francisco Bay, St. Louis and Tampa, FL.

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