Apocalypse Land | Q1 2020 DFW Big Box

May 5, 2020
Market Reports


Apocalypse Land | Q1 2020 DFW Big Box

By Ward Richmond

If you go back and read my 2019 recap I published earlier this year, I may have been the most optimistic sounding dude in the State of Texas. As I sit here at home today recapping Q1 after 7 weeks in lockdown, I’m not quite sure what to think.

For one thing, Q1 numbers are somewhat meaningless at this point because the world has forever changed. I actually think Q2 through Q4 numbers will also be meaningless because there is just no way in hell we are going to know the true impact of COVID-19 on the global economy for quite some time.

Nevertheless, for the sake of checking the boxes and doing my job, I’ll give you a brief overview of what happened in Q1 2020 in DFW Industrial Real Estate. But then I’m going to tell you what I think is on the horizon for this COVID world we are living in which I am basing off of 100+ conversations with business leaders, thought leaders, journalists and economists regarding what’s happening and what experts think is in store for the future.

The DFW Industrial Market continued on its warpath in Q1 2020 putting up some incredible numbers and closing some huge deals. Developers delivered another 7.3 Mil SF of space and supposedly have another 35 Mil SF under construction, although time will tell how much of that product actually gets delivered this year.

We set net absorption records once again with 8 Mil SF of deals getting done. This is mind boggling especially considering we weren’t allowed to go to the office for the back half of March!

The global socio/ politcal/ economic landscape kind of makes me feel like I took the red pill and I’m living in the Matrix. We have a missing dictator in North Korea, folks. Our President is joking about injecting Tide Pods into our arms to combat a Virus that was evidently caused by a Chinese Wet Market (which I never needed to know existed). Although, lots of other people (like my historically level headed Dad) think it could be a virus intentionally created by socialists in a laboratory to initiate global panic so the government can control our lives and take away our freedoms. I’m kidding. Or am I?

The point being is this: its crazy town out there, folks! That is for sure. I’m personally not sure what to think but I’m definitely not smoking cigarettes. I also started taking some extra vitamin C and wearing my red bandana around my face like an Old West trainrobber when I go to the grocery store.

I’ve tried to keep my head down and be productive as possible during this strange and scary time. I’ve made several videos on our Team’s YouTube Page which you can check out here (and please subscribe to stay updated) regarding ongoing COVID commercial real estate strategies:

Because of the COVID catastrophe, a ton of people have gotten sick (and died) and a ton of people have lost their jobs. This is obviously a horrible thing and it will likely cause one of the greatest recessions we’ve ever seen.

Multifamily real estate owners should be scared that their tenants are not going to pay their rent, since a bunch of them just lost their jobs and evidently lots of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. (***Myself included sometimes. I try to avoid this occurrence by writing these blogs so hopefully you, the reader, will hire me to help you with your real estate needs!)

Retail real estate owners are going to get crushed in the short term until people are 1) Allowed to go to and 2) Feel comfortable going to retail shops and restaurants.

Office real estate owners might also be freaking out. I will be curious to see how this plays out. I think it’s still up in the air. The office space environment will forever be changed, that’s for sure. There has evidently been increased productivity with people working from home, but then again bars and movie theaters are not open, so what in the hell else are they going to do? Exercise or pretend to be a school teacher? Plus, half of everyone they know just got fired. So yeah, no kidding they’re being more productive!

Thankfully for me, and the bulk of my clients, Industrial real estate is most definitely the strongest and most “essential” of all commercial real estate asset classes during this time with us only seeing 15-25% of tenants truly distressed. Retail is closer to 75-80%. Office falls somewhere in between.

As mentioned, this is all a super micro snapshot. There is no telling what will happen as this Earth shaking event continues to play out.

Chances are, all asset classes will take a hit and slowly but surely recover. I expect we will see a significant rise in the growth rate of eCommerce. This is because people like my Dad just started getting groceries and prescriptions delivered right to his house for the first time and they are of course loving it. This eComm growth will lead to a surge in demand for more industrial real estate.

If I had actually done a deal in the last 7 weeks and had $100 to spare, I would bet it all this uptick in eComm growth rate is going to happen. Furthermore, when it does, rental rates are also going surge as vacancy rates and cap rates compress.

If you are a corporate occupier of Supply Chain Real Estate working in the logistics/ manufacturing/ supply chain sector, and are in a financial position to focus on the long term and not the short term, I suggest you contact me immediately. There is currently a small window that will likely (and for the sake of the economy, HOPEFULLY!) be closing very soon during which time you will be in a position to take advantage of the current heightened level of uncertainty and generate massive value for your organization and your shareholders.

I look forward to connecting with you all soon. Stay safe out there in Apocalypse Land!

To get further inside my supply chain brain,
please check out my website and blog:


  • Keller Logistics – Dallas, TX – 162,000 SF SALE
  • FedEx Ground – Gulfport, MS – 40,000 SF LEASE
  • DB Schenker – Philadelphia, PA – 20,240 SF LEASE | Office
  • TForce Final Mile – San Diego, CA – 45,183 SF LEASE
  • TForce Final Mile –Houston, TX – 35,000 SF LEASE


  • Amazon – DFW Airport, TX – 1M SF Lease from CLX Ventures.
  • Wesco – Northlake, TX – 659k SF Lease from Clarion Partners
  • Tempur Sealy International – DFW Airport, TX – 585k SF Lease from Trammel Crow
  • Amazon – North Fort Worth, TX – 465K SF Lease from Hunt Southwest
  • Geodis – South Dallas, TX – 336K SF Lease from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

AVG Qoated Rate:

$3.91 SF
CURRENT Big Box by size:


200,000-499,999 SF: 392/74

500,000-749,999 Sf: 104/18

750,000+ SF: 72/13

Key Takeaways


Despite the pandemic started to effect the region in March, industrial leasing activity was on par with previous year’s Q1 stats.Absorption was 8.2M SF. When looking a deal from from leasing perspective, there were 25 transactions over 50,000 SF, which was slightly above the Q1 quarterly average over the past five years.


Vacancy dropped down to 9.5%. This equates to approximately 25.1 million square feet to vacant Big-Box space.


Construction did not stop in the first quarter and in fact several new buildings were started bringing the total number of Big-Box buildings under construction to 52 amassing 26.2 million square feet.


Rental rates remain in record territory coming in at $3.90 NNN.


Ward Richmond has over twelve years of experience specializing in industrial real estate, and has negotiated over 500 transactions while working in over 100 cities across the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Several publications have featured Ward for his expertise in this field including the Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, and Dallas Business Journal. He also serves on Colliers International Industrial Advisory Board, and is a member of the Logistics & Transportation Solutions Group.


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