Seattle Industrial Construction & Development Summit: 3 Key Takeaways from the Bisnow Panel


Brian Westre, Vice President for ARCO’s Seattle division, recently joined fellow industry experts as a panelist at Bisnow’s Seattle Industrial Summit. His panel discussed supply and demand dynamics, strategies for overcoming construction challenges, and how to effectively address tenant demands. Below are three key takeaways from the event.

ARCO Northwest’s Brian Westre (left) speaks during panel at Bisnow’s Seattle Industrial Construction & Development event.

Despite economic challenges, demand for industrial space is expected to continue.

Demand for industrial warehouse and distribution space is not expected to match the record-setting highs seen over the past few years as demand has tightened throughout the Seattle market, as well as nationwide. However, the need for space among end-users is expected to continue with demand shifting closer toward that of pre-pandemic levels. Financing difficulties combined with a backlog of speculative space bringing new supply to the market will most likely cause a decrease in new construction. However, the region will likely continue to see demand from small to mid-sized end-users seeking existing, ideally located space.

Choosing to retrofit rather than build new will likely become more attractive for end-users as market challenges continue.

Continued demand, especially among small to mid-sized users, combined with the increasing availability of speculative space hitting the market will most likely result in a growing number of end-users choosing to retrofit or renovate an existing warehouse rather than build new. Often, choosing to retrofit is a more cost-effective and functional solution. With speed to market and proximity to population centers, labor, and raw materials driving decisions for many users, retrofitting offers the potential to simultaneously prioritize cost, schedule, and location. In addition to the typical benefits, retrofitting allows users to overcome challenges specific to the Seattle market, such as long entitlement processes and rising land costs. Further, retrofitting gives the potential to address ongoing market challenges such as supply chain disruptions and commodity pricing fluctuations.

Pictured Above: Foodservice distribution facility retrofit and conversion completed for ARCO repeat client Performance Food Group

Engaging a Design-Build General Contractor with National Buying Power will be Increasingly Beneficial as Supply Chain Disruptions Continue.

While major spikes seen in response to Covid-19 are not likely to occur, commodity pricing may continue to fluctuate, and supply chain disruptions are expected to continue impacting construction material lead times in the Seattle market and nationwide. Because of this, partnering with a design-builder that is involved in a project’s earliest stages is essential to avoiding major schedule delays for both new construction and retrofit projects. Design-build delivery is beneficial from both cost and schedule standpoints as an integrated approach results in the most functional solution and tremendous time savings. Further, a national contractor like ARCO provides more purchasing power for key materials impacted by ongoing supply chain disruptions resulting in significant schedule changes.

Pictured Above: 464,000 SF distribution facility for Scannell Properties & a Fortune 500 athletic apparel and footwear retailer completed within an accelerated schedule of 8 months


As an industry-leading design-build general contractor, ARCO offers the experience and expertise needed for a seamless design and construction process. ARCO is unique in that we offer preliminary design at no cost to our customers to remove the risk of substantial upfront costs. Our design-build delivery method addresses ongoing market challenges through integrated design and construction solutions that allow for early material procurement resulting in reduced risk and shorter project durations.

33% faster overall delivery
12% faster construction
6% less total cost

ARCO is recognized by Engineering News-Record as the third largest design-build general contractor in the U.S. and the number one domestic builder of distribution and warehouse space.

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