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Wednesday, Dec 6, 2023

New and Converted Warehouses Across LA Provide Business Owners With More Options

In the last five years, more than 185 new warehouses sprung up in Los Angeles County, providing some 14.8 million square feet of additional space to the local logistic chain, according to data aggregated by Reonomy, a New York City-based analytics company specializing in commercial real estate.

The newcomers include Saltbox Inc., an Atlanta-based warehouse operator that opened its sixth location on Jan. 3 in Torrance and has set its sights on Duarte for its seventh. Saltbox converted the 38,160-square-foot former Torrance Technology Center — which once housed a manufacturer of custom jukeboxes — into 100 flexible warehouse spaces. It’s targeting small and medium-sized businesses, which are often “operating out of basements and garages and spare bedrooms and self-storage facilities or the backs of their retail stores,” because they’re overlooked by brokers of large warehouses, according to Saltbox co-founder Tyler Scriven.

“At Saltbox, you can get anywhere from a 50-square-foot warehouse suite to an 8,000-square-foot warehouse suite, but you’re getting a lot more than just that space — you’re getting access to our loading docks and pallet jacks, to our photography studios, our conference rooms,” Scriven said. “In addition, we have on-site, on-demand labor. … We also provide a full host of (third-party logistics) services, including an embedded co-located microfulfillment facility is in Torrance and all of our locations. So, we’re really in the business of solving small businesses’ logistics needs in a broad sense, and that begins with physical workspace.”

Overall, the county is home to more than 12,300 warehouses, providing more than 490 million square feet of space, according to Reonomy. That compares to 2,111 warehouses in Orange County; 3,020 in San Bernardino County; and 196 in Ventura County.

The biggest warehouse in Los Angeles County is located on 19200 S. Western Ave., in Torrance. The 3.58-million-square-foot, five-building complex was built in 1998 and is owned by San Diego-based Sunshine Distribution, Reonomy’s records show. The second-largest warehouse is on Avenue H in Lancaster. It’s a two-building property that occupies 2.92 million square feet and has Rite Aid Corp. and Lancaster-based Still Waters Catering Co. as tenants. The third-largest warehouse is in downtown on Mission Road, comprising 2.19 million square feet for its five buildings. New York-based Blackstone Inc. is listed as the property owner while F21 OpCo., which does business as Forever 21, is the tenant.

The towns in Los Angeles County that have the most warehouses include Santa Fe Springs with 702. The city, which occupies just under 9 square miles, added 16 new warehouses since 2017. Downtown is the runner up with 642 warehouses, followed by City of Industry with 575. Vernon and Commerce have 536 and 509, respectively.

Warehouse distribution for the cities in the Business Journal coverage area is similar for the top five spots. Then comes Carson at 473 warehouses, according to Reonomy, followed by Pomona at 422. Long Beach has 283, Torrance 259 and Irwindale 230.

Eleven cities have between 100 and 200 warehouses while 18 others are home to between 50 and 99 warehouses. Another 36 municipalities have fewer than 50, and some seven cities, including Malibu and Rolling Hills Estates, have none.

Patrick Rafferty, vice president of product and engineering at Reonomy, said the data company follows the tax assessor definition of a property and that the number of properties classified as a warehouse is one way to look at the local landscape, “but you could have a bunch of small warehouses” at one address, as is the case with Saltbox’s property.

“If you have one industrial condominium development, it’s going to make that number look bigger,” Rafferty said.

Mediha DiMartino
Mediha DiMartino
Mediha DiMartino covers retail, manufacturing and the ports. She can be emailed here.

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