Since becoming NAIOP’s 2023 chair in January, it’s been my pleasure to visit chapters from Orlando to Milwaukee to Southern California, where I’ve talked with thousands of members about current market conditions, the forces impacting our industry, and our future as an organization. Regardless of chapter location or size, four topics frequently arise during these conversations:
Community relations. In today’s environment, it’s essential that developers fully understand the impacts of their products on the communities where they operate, particularly regarding jobs, hours of operations and environmental effects (traffic, water, energy, etc.). Most of NAIOP’s chapters report a surge in anti-growth sentiment, which highlights the importance of engaging with the community early and often.
E-commerce education and research. E-commerce’s share of total retail sales was on a growth trajectory before the pandemic, which turbocharged the industrial sector as people were forced to stay home. Unfortunately, the news media, non-governmental organizations and policymakers frequently focus on truck traffic associated with home deliveries while often ignoring the consumer behaviors that put those vehicles on the road in the first place. Further, some research suggests that ordering goods for delivery is better for the environment because people make fewer individual trips to malls, grocery stores and local shops in their cars. We need comprehensive research about e-commerce’s environmental footprint to help educate our external audiences and debunk common misconceptions. This will allow developers to clearly articulate e-commerce’s economic impact and the role industrial real estate plays in the community.
Electric vehicle trends. In response to growing truck-traffic and climate-change concerns, many communities — typically on the West and East Coasts — are imposing requirements around the electrification of commercial vehicles. Southern California leads the pack, and the region’s local air quality regulatory body recently approved the unprecedented Indirect Source Rule (ISR). This requires warehouse occupiers to quantify and report vehicle trips to and from their facilities to identify impacts and provide data for issuing taxes. In response, California businesses are investing heavily in electric vehicles and the infrastructure needed to support them. Other states looking to adopt similar “indirect source” regulations include New Jersey, New York, Washington, Colorado and Nevada. NAIOP will continue to track and provide updates on this issue, as members in urban areas can expect to see this policy affecting their future projects.
Working with communities to design policies. Anti-warehouse sentiments fueled by environmental concerns have led some municipalities to pause new projects in response to community pushback. NAIOP and other business associations continue to make the case that such moratoriums disrupt the supply chain, prevent businesses from operating efficiently and lead to economic losses that stifle job creation. NAIOP members have worked with municipal staffers and communities to create good-neighbor policy agreements that address issues like setbacks, landscape screening and noise-abatement strategies. Developers have found that proactively incorporating neighborhood-friendly building features is more effective than having aggressive approval conditions imposed upon their projects that impede functionality and increase costs.
This year as NAIOP chair has been a meaningful one for me. As we begin the fourth quarter and I approach the end of my term, I’ll continue steadfastly strengthening NAIOP and helping members talk boldly about the value our industry brings to communities and the economy. I look forward to my remaining chapter visits and seeing many of you at CRE.Converge this October in Seattle.
Kim Snyder, President,
2023 NAIOP Chair