US warehouse boom attracts foreign investors

Industrial sector seen as better bet than office or hospitality

(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

It’s not just massive firms like Blackstone Group and Prologis that are throwing billions of dollars at warehouses — foreign investors are also pouring money into the booming industrial sector.

Investment firms from France, Germany and South Korea are among those that have recently inked big deals for industrial properties, according to the Wall Street Journal. That comes even as overall foreign investment into U.S. real estate has plummeted due to the pandemic. Real Capital Analytics pegged that total as down by 31 percent in 2020.

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But warehouses — which have been booming thanks to the surging e-commerce — are a bright spot, according to the publication. Allianz Real Estate, a German firm, partnered with Crow Holdings to buy a 49 percent stake in a logistics portfolio. AXA Investment Managers, based in France, paid $857 million for a nearly 8 million-square-foot logistics portfolio in December. And the National Pension Service of Korea partnered with Stockbridge Capital on a $2 billion warehouse deal.

Warehouses that are leased to major companies like Amazon — which planned to increase its industrial square footage by 50 percent in 2020 — are seen as especially attractive, the publication reported.

The warehouses are “effectively a corporate bond given by one of the largest companies in the world,” according to Matthew Alshouse, a partner at law firm DLA Piper. [WSJ] — Amy Plitt