Benefitting from both a national surge in logistics demand and the improved manufacturing climate, Birmingham’s industrial market is strong. Vacancies are tight and hovering around 2.6 percent, giving pricing power to the landlords. Rents have increased at an impressive rate, growing 6.6 percent over the last 12 months. Despite this, developers have been hesitant to take on large speculative projects, resulting in most construction involving build-to-suit spaces. The industrial sector holds a favorable outlook, with recent tenant announcements boosting expectations. With a strong track record in 2020, investors are optimistic about Birmingham’s outlook.
Huntsville’s growing industrial market can be attributed to the metro’s 7,000-acre Port of Huntsville, which holds the Huntsville International Airport and International Intermodal Center. Huntsville’s airport is one of the largest international cargo airports in the nation, handling over 200 million pounds of cargo annually. The Intermodal center contains the Norfolk Southern Railway, which has a stacking capacity of over 800 loads. Further, Huntsville is home to the Jetplex Industrial Park, a 4,000-acre office/industrial complex that holds some of the metro’s largest industrial tenants, SES West and Boeing. Lastly, The Cummings Research Park (CRP) is the second-largest research park in the country, and fourth-largest globally, holding 300 companies, including high-tech aerospace firms Teledyne, Lockheed Martin, and Airbus. The market’s connectivity to other larger markets, like Nashville and Birmingham, has also played a role in why industrial tenants have flocked to Huntsville.