BUSINESS

Logistics facilities downtown?

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Property, Retail

Property market professionals, especially those working for real estate investment companies (REICs), have in the last few months been testing the waters in terms of how sustainable the acquisition of logistics facilities closer to central Athens and Thessaloniki could be.

That is a category of properties that hasn’t been considered an investment commodity to date, as it concerns relatively small properties without any particular standards and mainly without any notable demand; however, the Covid pandemic and the shifts it has led to in consumer habits may also change the landscape in this property category too.

The jump in online commerce, which remains at high levels even after the lifting of restrictions in late spring, has changed the needs and distribution channels of the major retail chains considerably, shifting part of consumption away from the conventional points of sale directly to central warehouses. Developments have also helped a series of new enterprises emerge, specializing in the distribution of various products.

All this has increased storage needs, both for retailers and for courier companies that have realized the significance of having sufficient infrastructure closer to delivery destinations.

It remains to be seen whether “last mile delivery” will also be developed in Greece, with chains offering rapid service to online customers by enhancing their transport and logistics infrastructure so as to cover a large portion of needs.

Prodea Investments chief executive officer Aris Karytinos notes to Kathimerini that “this is doubtlessly a market that remains under development. It is, however, obvious that whatever the distribution channel (an online store or a physical point of retail), the warehouse will be necessary, therefore we continue to seek out new properties for investment, either through direct purchases or aimed at development.”

He adds that in future the need may arise also for storage and distribution buildings closer to the final destination: “The typical target is old buildings at a low cost, but they are quite hard to find or expensive. Maybe in the future, with the help of banks that are clearing out their property stocks, such assets may become available at more attractive prices,” he says.

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