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Oklahoma Tornadoes: Warehouse space tight as buildings get new roofs

Roof-repair crews and displaced industrial tenants still are common, especially in southwest Oklahoma City, which has most of the city's multitenant, investment-grade warehouses and bore the brunt of the May 31 tornado and storms.
by Richard Mize Modified: September 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm •  Published: September 21, 2013

/articleid/3885122/1/pictures/2217022">Photo - Tornado debris is removed to a landfill in southwest Oklahoma City in this photo taken July 1. Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman <strong>PAUL HELLSTERN</strong>
Tornado debris is removed to a landfill in southwest Oklahoma City in this photo taken July 1. Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman PAUL HELLSTERN

“Basically, everything that was on the market, especially among the portfolio properties, was immediately absorbed as (owners) moved their tenants into their vacant buildings while the roofs were repaired,” Puckett said. “Those tenants were still paying the same amount as they did in their primary leases. However, the lowered availability has resulted in higher lease rates, and we have seen a general trend toward higher lease rates over the past 12 months.”

Storm damage aside, speculative development is expected “by those few developers who can finance such projects,” Price Edwards said.

•  Price Edwards estimated the vacancy of bulk warehouse space — ceiling height 24 feet and higher — at 5 percent to 6 percent. Vacancy had plummeted from 20.4 percent in 2011 to 6.5 percent in 2012. The tightest area was the southwest submarket with a vacancy of 2.7 percent.

•  Flex space vacancy was estimated at 8 percent to 9 percent, down from 11 percent in 2012. Flex space is suitable for a mix of office, warehouse, lab and showroom areas and generally has ceiling height of 18 feet or less, but includes some newer properties with higher ceilings if they are marketed as flex space.

•  Vacancy of service warehouse space — ceiling height 18 to 23 feet — had an estimated vacancy of 12.1 percent, up from 9.5 percent in 2012. Price Edwards noted that the smallest square footage of the industrial property types, and that once sizable vacancy can greatly change the calculation.

Puckett said that an ordeal like scrambling to relocate materials from a damaged warehouse to space untouched by wind and rain can test relationships.

“That depends on how the landlord handles the emergency. If the landlord handles it, meets all the tenant's needs, gets them into the temporary space as quickly as possible, then you end up with a happy tenant. If the landlord does not do those things and does not take care of the tenant, then you can end up with an unhappy tenant,” he said.

by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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