Multistory warehouses and their towering future

Unlocking the future of urban logistics buildings

October 11, 2023
  • Leslie Lanne
  • Mehtab Randhawa
  • Elizabeth Keiger

This year marks the 5-year anniversary of multistory warehouse development in the U.S., a subset of buildings within the Urban Logistics inventory. These buildings differ from traditional big-box warehouses and have emerged to meet the growing demand and changing consumer behavior. This white paper provides a brief history of multistory warehouses, their inspiration, and highlights the first project completed in the U.S. It also presents case studies of current multistory projects and discusses the opportunities and challenges in this sector.

Trends and topics:
  • Urban logistics in EMEA & APAC regions: Multistory warehouses were developed out of necessity in APAC and EMEA regions due to population density and lack of land.

  • Site selection: For urban logistics buildings, population density is crucial for reaching many consumers in a short distance. Developers turn to buying existing properties and converting them into multistory warehouses as raw land is scarce. 

  • Building characteristics: Multistory buildings have loading docks and truck ramps on multiple levels. Some use hydraulic and gantry crane operations when truck parking is limited. 

  • Opportunities in the future of last mile buildings: Sustainability measures, like EV charging stations, rooftop solar panels, and greener delivery methods, offset the carbon footprint of urban logistics buildings. 

  • Challenges to growth: Land availability and zoning ordinances present hurdles for future multistory buildings. 

  • Markets to watch: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and Philadelphia are promising markets for future multistory and urban logistics projects due to population density and consumer demand. 

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