New players helping to diversify Baton Rouge’s industrial real estate sector

Despite an oil price crash and a pandemic, Baton Rouge’s industrial real estate landscape emerged from 2020 quite healthy, with a sub-6% vacancy rate, an increase of 482,811 square feet in overall inventory and space at a premium.

By and large, the sector’s strength over the past year illustrates the staying power of oil and gas in the market, local real estate professionals say. The petrochemical industry, which touts a 6:1 job multiplier rate, will more than likely reign king for years to come and continue driving trends.

But an influx of new players into the market—namely Amazon, which is building a 3.5 million-square-foot distribution center at the old Cortana Mall site—will help diversify the Capital Region’s portfolio. This wave of new construction could also signal what the future of industry looks like.  

“[Amazon] gives us another type of industrial real estate that wasn’t here before,” says Ryan Greene of NAI Latter & Blum, who chaired the 2021 Industrial TRENDS committee. “Is it going to steal the headlines from petrochemical? No, but it will be a story to follow.”

Generally, the industrial sector is adapting to many of the shifts that retail has had to make amid the massive growth of e-commerce. Of the 482,000 square feet of new construction last year, for instance, 420,000 square feet belonged to Amazon, including the 300,000-square-foot West Baton Rouge Amazon distribution center and the 120,000-square-foot Siegen Lane distribution center.

Read the full story from the latest edition of Business Report.