As land becomes ‘scarce,’ firms expected to look north of Orlando for industrial space

Jack Witthaus
Staff Writer
Orlando Business Journal

Central Florida’s population boom has created demand for new industrial space — if users can find it.

Increasing land demand may push more groups to the outer rings of Central Florida, including Daytona Beach which is roughly an hour away from the central business district, according to industrial experts. Daytona may be more appealing to users who need more space and price sensitive companies who aren’t interested in spending upwards of $300,000 an acre closer to Orlando.

The area also offers the ability for users to own land, contrasting with Orlando and Lakeland, which are becoming more land-constrained and increasingly institutionally controlled, said David Perez, a senior director with Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) in Orlando. That’s difficult for industrial space users with intensive infrastructure operations or companies that want to own long-term.

Still, there are challenges to bigger industrial developments in Daytona. One main issue: the area’s labor force, which includes a plethora of retirees who aren’t necessarily looking for industrial labor jobs. However, the city wants to make business attractive for interested industrial space users, as Daytona has a reputation for getting deals done faster with its permitting and incentives process, said Bo Bradford, co-president of Lee & Associates Central Florida LLC.

“I do feel like there are opportunities for Daytona,” Bradford said. 

One landowner said his company’s 850-acre industrial site in Daytona Beach that’s been proposed for years is getting a second look from potential tenants as Central Florida’s population continues to grow and demand for space increases. The planned Daytona West Industrial Park — entitled for 4.7 million square feet of industrial space, or an estimated $311 million in development, west of Interstate 95 and north of U.S. Highway 92 — may prove attractive to users looking to own land and develop on a larger scale, said John Albright, president and CEO of Daytona-based Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. (NYSE: CTO), which owns the 850-acre site.

A growing population is creating demand for more industrial space as more than 21 million people live within 250 miles of the Interstate 4 corridor between Daytona Beach and Tampa, according to Colliers International Central Florida (Nasdaq: CIGI), which is marketing the project. That’s a plus for Daytona, as one of the biggest driving factors for new industrial development is the area’s proximity to Interstate 95 and I-4. That location offers potential users the availability to serve the entire state of Florida. Still, no leases have been signed.

“As companies look to establish a distribution or heavy industrial use closer to Orlando, and the remaining Orlando sites are getting scarce, we assume this site will be an appealing alternative,” Albright said.