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Prologis Builds First Ground-Up Multistory Warehouse In U.S.

Warehouse buildings in rural regions were once adequate, but the new rule as companies seek to be closer to consumers is to move into urban areas. The problem is land closer to urban centers is limited and expensive.

Prologis’ solution: Go up.

Prologis Builds First Ground-Up Multistory Warehouse In U.S.
Georgetown Crossroads is the first multistory warehouse built from the ground up in the U.S.

The multilevel Prologis Georgetown Crossroads industrial warehouse in south Seattle is the first of its kind in the United States. Set to open this summer, the three-story 590K, SF building will ease its customers’ logistical concerns granting better access to that last mile of delivery.

Blame the growing demand for urban warehouse space on online shopping and consumers’ growing expectations of immediate delivery. 

Shoppers want their product delivered in an hour or two, Prologis Senior Vice President and Market Officer for Seattle Richard Kolpa said.

“With customers expecting more goods to be delivered faster than ever, placing distribution networks closer to the end consumer is critical,” he said. “We decided to go vertical and give our customers an advantage in the race to shorter delivery times. This proximity can also dramatically cut our customers’ transportation costs, which make up a significant portion of total supply chain costs.”

Seattle, with its dense, affluent population and surrounding bodies of water, needs new solutions to meet its growing demand for warehouse space. Like in many urban centers, Seattle’s traffic makes getting around the city difficult.

The city of Seattle helped with the entitlement process for the new multistory warehouse.

“They were great partners in making this project a reality,” Kolpa said. 

While there is plenty of warehouse space farther south in areas like Kent Valley, distance adds time to delivery.

The Georgetown Crossroads warehouse at 6050 East Marginal Way S sits near the intersection of state routes 99 and 509, less than one mile from Interstate 5 and about five minutes from downtown.

Prologis' multistory warehouse facility in the Bronx
Prologis' multistory warehouse facility in the Bronx

While Georgetown Crossroads is the first ground-up multistory warehouse in the United States, Prologis has many multistory logistic centers abroad and is adding more in the U.S.

“We have already built 53 such facilities in Asia,” Kolpa said. “In the U.S., we redeveloped a multistory facility in New York City and we have a new multistory project underway in San Francisco. Today, more than a third of our global portfolio comprises infill assets.”

In New York, Prologis redeveloped a 205K SF, two-story former ABC Carpet & Home Outlet Center. The company acquired the building in March 2017 and renovated the warehouse to include 10 loading docks that can accommodate 53-foot trailers. Vertical lift systems were added as well as roof-mounted heating units, a renovated 10,000-pound freight elevator, LED lighting and an early suppression fast response sprinkler system.

The new warehouse in Seattle is designed specifically for the logistical needs of its customers, while making the best use of existing space.

“The building is like two warehouses sitting on top of each other,” Washington Real Estate Advisors managing partner Wilma Warshak said at NAIOP’s CRE: Last Mile conference. “It’s not like a retail building where the guys might lower the rent for the upper level.”

The building’s design makes the second level just as accessible as the first, with ramp grades lower than an I-5 on-ramp, said Warshak, who is the leasing agent on the project.

The first level is 239K SF and can be divided into spaces of 75K SF or more with 62 dock-high doors and two drive-in doors. The second level is 170,331 SF and is divisible into 45K SF spaces. It has 38 dock-high doors and two drive-in doors. The top level is 180,255 SF of maker’s space for light manufacturing, creative offices and laboratory and production. Its spaces are divisible to 10K SF or more. 

“Level three is a hybrid space,” Kolpa said. “We see tech companies, manufacturing companies, shared restrooms and break areas.”

It is about meeting the needs of the local group that is already there, Kolpa said.

“Georgetown is the new hip neighborhood,” he said.

Kolpa believes this project will help change the face of south Seattle and bring a lot of jobs to the area.