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October 08, 2015

Pet food, auto parts help make Seattle's industrial market the nation's hottest

Puget Sound Business Journal

Marc Stiles

Three large leases at two warehouse developments in Sumner go a long way toward showing why the greater Seattle industrial market is now tops in the United States.

DCT Industrial Trust (NYSE: DCT) this week said three companies have rented a total of 518,000 square feet in two of its projects in that Pierce County community, both of which are now fully leased.

"Seattle's industrial market is incredibly strong," said DCT Senior Vice President Patrick Gemma. "It's the best landlord market I've seen in this market for the past 15 years."

Real estate experts across North America agree. The Emerging Trends 2016 report, which came out this week, ranks the Puget Sound region as having the nation's best-performing industrial market. The report by the Urban Land Institute and accounting firm PwC is based on interviews and surveys of nearly 1,900 real estate experts, and 64 percent recommended buying warehouses here.

Denver-based DCT said two companies leased a total of 434,000 square feet in its recently completed White River Corporate Center Phase I project. Industry sources said auto parts company LKQ (Nasdaq: LKQ) leased 291,000 square feet, and DCT's website has an article from The Registry about the lease.

DCT said another lease totaling 143,000 square feet has been completed. Industry sources said third-party logistics company Trans-Trade is the tenant. The Puget Sound Business Journal has reached out to Texas-based Trans-Trade for confirmation.

At another project, DCT Sumner South Distribution Center, DCT said it had leased 84,000 square feet of space. Brokers said a wholesaling company called Pet Food Experts is the tenant, and a Pet Food Experts manager, Deb Wilson, confirmed the deal Thursday.

Rhode Island-based Pet Food Experts entered the Pacific Northwest market earlier this year, when it acquired the operating assets of Northpoint Trading Co. of Fife. Wilson said Pet Food Experts will move early next year from a 26,000-square-foot warehouse.

Earlier this year, real estate company Kidder Mathews reported that the Pierce County vacancy rate for industrial properties was inching up as demand wasn't keeping pace with development. Now companies are leasing new buildings, such as DCT's.

"The good economy and the shortage of Class A space is driving the demand, and the demand is very broad-based, with users from small and large tenants and across all industries,” said Gemma, who sees no warning signs for the industrial market on the horizon.

For the full story, go to Puget Sound Business Journal.

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