Developers Design Larger, Safer Warehouses to Meet Ecommerce Demand

New industrial space at HIP slated to be taller, brighter and sustainable
As published in the Hauppauge Reporter

By Richard Neuman
Vice President & Long Island Market Lead
Project and Development Services
JLL

The seemingly unending demand for ecommerce space has fueled major changes in the size and design of warehouse facilities in the New York tri-state region. Warehouse and distribution facilities are getting larger, and far more people- and environmentally friendly. Companies are looking to make the most of existing spaces while also providing a healthier and more productive work environment for employees.

The Hauppauge Industrial Park is the largest suburban park in the northeast and second largest in the entire country, accounting for approximately one in 20 jobs on Long Island. HIP recently developed a revitalization plan that highlights the need to transform the outdated warehouse space at the park into modern facilities that meet the needs of the thriving ecommerce industry and Long Island’s workforce.

The revitalization plan includes implementing zoning changes to allow for increased building heights, zoning overlays, mixed-use buildings and other adjustments needed to develop warehouse facilities that will attract ecommerce retailers.

The average ceiling height for a typical Class A distribution center has soared to as high as 36 feet. The taller ceilings allow for more pallets to be stored in higher stacks, using less square footage. Column spacing is also getting wider, as wide as 54 feet in some facilities, allowing for narrower aisles and denser racking to create more storage potential.

The higher ceilings and wider column spacing also creates room for more loading doors. Adding additional loading doors for delivery trucks and other vehicles to enter and exit the warehouse space allows ecommerce firms to maximize the efficient flow of goods.

Modern warehouses are very well lit to improve visibility levels in the workplace. This allows staff to clearly see their surroundings, decreasing accidents and increasing productivity and attendance. Optimizing light in warehouse spaces can be as simple as “daylighting,” installing ample glass windows to allow for natural light.

Developers are also putting in energy-efficient LED lighting or compact fluorescent lamps. Paired with daylighting and occupancy sensors, some smart control systems can allow buildings to operate without any or only minimal artificial lighting, significantly reducing energy usage.

Sustainability is now being designed into new warehouse facilities as an integral part of the infrastructure, rather than being considered an expensive add-on. Many ecommerce businesses will not even consider occupying warehouse spaces that have not received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

Innovative technologies designed to encourage sustainability also boost productivity. Modern warehouses are switching from paper to digital track-and-trace methods, bar coding and sortation systems that greatly increase the efficiency of their operations.

HIP is encouraging developers to build more modern warehouse space at the park. The companies will not just be getting more from the available space, they will also create a more productive work environment for warehouse employees and improve their corporate social responsibility.

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