Last week at the Commercial Industrial Association of South Florida presentation on “The rEvolution of the Industrial Market”, the inventory of industrial warehouse space in Miami-Dade was estimated at 200 million square feet. As in my last newsletter, I like to relate this to something I can imagine.

The shipping industry uses a standard shipping container with a length of 40’, a width of 8’, and a height of 9.5’. Therefore, a container would occupy 320 square feet of floor space and has a volume of 3,040 cubic feet. If the South Florida market contains 200,000,000 square feet of floor space with say 20% used for loading and access – then 200,000,000 minus 40,000,000 = 160,000,000 SF. And if each container requires 320 SF of floor space, then the South Florida Industrial Market could store 500,000 cargo containers, if single stacked.

If 500,000 containers were in a line, they would stretch for (500,000 X 40’) = 20,000,000 feet or over 3,700 miles. This is greater than the distance from Miami to Vancouver , Canada. Another way to imagine this many containers is their cubic capacity. A 50” TV can be shipped in a box occupping (5’X1’X3’) or 15 cubic feet. If a 40’ shipping container has a 3,040 cubic foot capacity, each could hold 200 TV’s. Therefore, 500,000 containers could hold 100,000,000 TV’s.

Now I realize that this is over the top, and the net floor space is actually much less, but still – 200,000,000 SF of industrial space can contain a very large quantity of goods for local consumption, trans-shipment or used for local manufacturing.

As real estate brokers, we are always trying to understand the supply and demand for real estate products and its impact on prices. The way we do this is to measure things in a different way.

By Tom Dixon