Download Hi-Res Image • Steve Bridges, principal at Q10-WestCap, with Brandy Birtcher of Birtcher Development LLC, during a recent Center for Real Estate breakfast series event titled, “From Warehouse and Distribution to Logistics and E-commerce: Are You Ready for the Evolution?”

Automated Fulfillment Centers on the Horizon for Real Estate

April 04, 2018 • By UCI Paul Merage School of Business

In January, the Center for Real Estate held a breakfast series event titled, “From Warehouse and Distribution to Logistics and E-commerce: Are You Ready for the Evolution?” Presentations explored the evolution of warehouses and distribution centers into e-commerce fulfillment centers and the impact on industrial building design and utilization.

“Fulfillment is the number one development prospect, followed by warehouse, senior housing and multifamily,” said Brandon R. Birtcher of Birtcher Development LLC.  “Retail is experiencing unprecedented evolution.  Of all the malls that existed in 2000, we will see half of them gone by 2025.” He added that as internet sales continue to soar, many of the mall owners may take advantage of their location and put in logistics facilities.

Blake Bearden, of Bastian Solutions, a Toyota Advanced Logistics company, commented how automated distribution, manufacturing, and order fulfillment centers will be coming online around the world and how building considerations will need to be made to accommodate robotics.  “We’ll start seeing more robots in the picking process,” he said. “Which will increase order accuracy and reduce workman comp claims.  And, robots don’t have to sleep. They pick around the clock, twenty-four/seven.”

Chris Joyce, from Recreation Equipment Inc. (REI), touched on sustainable building at the REI warehouse facility in Arizona. “We chose to pursue the most sustainable building ever built: net zero, LEED certified.  We wanted visitors to enjoy it, people to visit, and we wanted to be the most technologically advanced as we could.” REI’s Arizona warehouse delivers.  The new facility achieved LEED platinum and is net zero on energy.  The building is cooled with radiant water that keeps the temperatures inside down even in 120-degree weather in Arizona.

Hosted three times a year, the Center for Real Estate’s Breakfast Series features panels of experts discussing and debating major issues of current interest to the real estate community. The Center’s Advisory Board members are frequent attendees and participants and attend at a discounted rate.