"Salt Lake City’s industrial sector has experienced extraordinary growth in recent years and is poised for even greater expansion, led by the considerable industrial development currently underway in the area’s northwest quadrant. As the region’s growing population shops online, more distribution and e-commerce space will be needed, and the Salt Lake City industrial market is ready to rise to the challenge."
According to CBRE Location Intelligence, over 2.5 million people—27% of them in the 18-to-34 age demographic—live within 50 miles of downtown Salt Lake City, with a 9% projected growth rate over the next five years. Expanded to a 250-mile radius, the total population is nearly double at 4.1 million, with an 8% projected growth rate over the next five years. Salt Lake City is the population hub of Utah—the fastest-growing state in terms of residents, according to ESRI Demographics. Utah’s population has grown by 11% since 2014, reaching 3.2 million last year.
Figure 1: Salt Lake City Population Analysis
Distance from Downtown Salt Lake City
Source: CBRE Location Intelligence.
An influx of distributors has increased the number of warehouse workers in the region. According to CBRE Labor Analytics, 19,656 people work in the local distribution industry, with a forecast 18% increase over the next 10 years. The average salary for non-supervisory warehouse workers is $13.46 per hour, slightly above the national average. Utah’s job market has proved resilient to one of the largest economic challenges in U.S. history from COVID-19. It had one of the lowest state tallies for new unemployment claims from mid-March to August 2020 at 220,000.
Figure 2 : Warehouse & Storage Labor Fundamentals
Source: CBRE Labor Analytics.
Over the past five years, there have been 138 economic incentive deals totaling more than $292 million at an average of $6,171 per new job in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, according to CBRE Location Incentives. Among the top incentive programs offered in Salt Lake City is the Economic Development Tax Increment Financing (EDTIF) program, a post-performance tax credit designed to attract corporate expansion projects and new high-paying jobs. Tyson Foods, Tesla subsidiary SolarCity and Goldman Sachs are among those that have received EDTIF tax credits.
Figure 3: Top Incentive Programs
Another major incentive program available in Salt Lake City is the Industrial Assistance Fund (IAF), which provides discretionary cash grants for the creation of at least 50 high-paying new jobs in Utah. Similar to EDTIF, IAF requires that jobs are paid 125% of the urban county average wage or 100% of the rural county average wage.
Salt Lake City’s new $4.1 billion international airport, which opened in September 2020, is expected to elevate the city’s status as the Mountain West’s logistics hub.
Nearly $8 billion worth of cargo passed through the old airport last year. An at least equal amount is expected this year, with some $4 billion worth of cargo handled through July, according to USTradeNumbers. The region is serviced by the Union Pacific and BNSF rail lines. Trucking is another logistics advantage, with Interstate-15 providing a direct route to Mexico and Canada.
SUPPLY AND DEMAND
Salt Lake City’s industrial vacancy rate stood at 3.0% in Q2 2020, its lowest level in a decade despite new supply of 1.8 million sq. ft. Another 7.3 million sq. ft. of industrial construction is underway, comprising 5.3% of the entire market. Nearly 5.5 million sq. ft. is scheduled for delivery by the end of the year.
Figure 4: Salt Lake City Historical Data
Year-to-date leasing activity as of Q2 reached more than 4.5 million sq. ft. Though the industrial market saw a lower volume of smaller transactions, the overall hike in demand was driven by a small number of big-box users, such as Gateway Plastics, Patriot Supply and Misfits Market. Seven leases of more than 100,000 sq. ft. each were signed in Q2 alone, two of which were more than 300,000 sq. ft. and one more than 800,000 sq. ft.
The future of Salt Lake City’s industrial market looks bright. CBRE forecasts that population growth, a strong economy and increases in e-commerce sales will create nearly 19 million sq. ft. of positive net absorption over the next five years.
Source: CBRE Research, Q2 2020.
Figure 5: Salt Lake City Size Range Comparison
Source: CBRE Research, Q2 2020.