August 9, 2019

Old Industrial Window

The evolution of industry happening all over the Detroit area has opened up new uses for old industrial properties. But it’s a window that may soon close.

Old warehouses along the I-96 corridor have stood empty for years. Now high-tech companies are converting and repurposing those warehouses, and rental rates in Wixom have reached all-time highs. For example:

In 2017, Uber was looking for a technical facility for their self-driving car operations, one closer to manufacturers. Instead of constructing a new building, they remodeled an old one on Cartier Drive in Wixom.

Across the street, Future Pak, a pharmaceutical packaging company, leased a 30,000-square-foot warehouse. At their own expense they’ve upgraded the electrical service, applied floor coatings, and created clean-manufacturing areas that are climate controlled and secure.

Wanting to move their headquarters from Farmington Hills to Wixom, Real World Technologies purchased an industrial property on Lorie Lane. They’re upgrading its communications capacity and are looking for another high-tech company to share the space. With the property’s excellent location near the Beck Road – I-96 interchange, someone is sure to take them up on it.

Panther Global Technologies leased a limited-volume production facility in Wixom’s Century Industrial Park. Needing a building with 480-volt electrical service and proximity to company headquarters, they snatched up the only suite available in the Varsity Technology Center.

Despite the demand and all-time high rental rates, no new industrial properties started construction in 2019. The rate of increase has slowed some, but rents continue to rise and soon may become so high that new construction will begin. Until then, owners of older industrial buildings are looking through a window of opportunity. For now, they hold a commodity high-tech companies will compete to lease or own.

Thomas Duke Company was the Broker for these sale and leasing transactions.

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