The expectation of the emergence of autonomous trucks in the market further accelerates the demand for land outside the big cities, which is already fueled in part by the increase in long-term travel due to the plague.
Alterra Property Group, a real estate entrepreneur from Philadelphia, announced last week that it has launched a partnership with autonomous truck company Embark Trucks that will purchase territories across the United States.
Embark, which went public in November at a value of $ 5 billion, plans to commercially launch the first trucks carrying its software in 2024, in sun-belt states like California and Texas. The autonomous trucks will travel on highways, then transport the containers to man-made trucks for the last part of the shipments within the city.
To do this you will need Embark Trucks to set up the ancestors of transportation close to the highways, on the outskirts of cities, to park and exchange vehicles. Under this partnership, the company plans to initially lease these territories from Alterra.
The emergence of autonomous trucks stems from the Americans’ appetite for electronics, household appliances and other products that during the epidemic increased the volume of truck transportation. Truck operators need areas near large population concentrations to store vehicles.
But such areas are precious to reality. First, developers buy such land for the construction of warehouses for online purchases. Second, strict zoning laws mean that only a few sites are suitable for truck parking. “You can’t park a truck everywhere,” says Alterra co-manager Matthew Piper. This “creates a significant imbalance between supply and demand,” says Leslie Lane, a director at commercial real estate firm JLL.
In December, Zenith IOS, a real estate investment firm, launched a partnership with JP Morgan Global Alternatives to acquire such out-of-town properties for $ 700 million. The partnership has acquired more than $ 150 million in assets to date, Zenith says.
Stonemont Financial Group of Atlanta last year partnered with Cerberus Capital Management to invest in this sector.
The dark niches of the real estate market
These deals are an example of how low interest rates are attracting investors to what until recently were the dark niches of the real estate market. Pension funds and insurance companies are pushing up property prices and making it difficult to make money in key channels such as residences and warehouses. Where they can expect the least competition, and are aimed at private homes for rent, warehouses for self-use and vacation homes.
While large investors have been buying warehouses for online commerce for years, they have so far tended to neglect the open industrial storage facilities. Most of these areas are small and are owned by local owners or small logistics companies, which means that it is difficult to find a property to purchase and also expensive. That’s changing now.
Benjamin Atkins, CEO of Zenith IOS, says he expects open industrial properties to follow a path similar to that of private homes for rent and self-use storage units, where the rise in the number of large owners has attracted pension funds to buy large amounts of property. In property prices.
In addition to trucks, open industrial areas are used to store building materials and equipment. The surge in residential construction has also raised demand for such areas, Atkins says.