Why is it so hard to find industrial space for lease with loading docks in St. Catharines and Niagara?

A frequent request we get when tenants are looking for industrial space is that it must have a loading dock. In most areas this would not be a problem to fulfill, especially for spaces over 10,000 sq. ft.

For those that aren’t familiar with the difference between a loading dock and a grade level door is that the loading dock is truck height. It allows for forklifts to easily drive on and off a truck with product from the warehouse. Grade level doors are ground level and are easier to come across however it is more difficult to get product off a truck. (Photos of each below)

Loading Dock

Grade Level Door

Unfortunately anything under 10,000 sq. ft. yields little to nothing for search results in the Niagara Region. As the space gets smaller, the narrower the chance of finding a loading dock.The difficult situation I face is that most tenants don’t want to believe me but eventually after they perform their own searches they realize there really isn’t a lot to look at. Believe me, I would love for every tenant to find what they are looking for but some things just aren’t possible and I am going to explain why this is. The first and obvious is cost. Having heard costs to construct a loading dock be in the neighbourhood of $10,000 – $20,000 and higher, this doesn’t make a good return on investment for loading docks in our area. The market rental rate usually doesn’t support installing one in an older building for smaller tenants.The second problem is the area. In St. Catharines and the Niagara Region there has been little industrial development in the last 30+ years. (There are several reasons why which would be another blog entirely) The more recent trend for industrial development in the last couple decades is high clear height and loading docks. This can be found in the GTA in spaces as small as 3000 – 5000 sq. ft., an area that has a lot of industrial development in the last couple decades.

So unfortunately in the Niagara Region we are left with a demand of loading docks and minimum 24 ft. clear height yet few buildings can meet that criteria. (If there is vacancy)

For more information on leasing or purchasing commercial / industrial real estate in St. Catharines and the surrounding Niagara Region please don’t hesitate to contact us at www.DCCB.ca/contact or feel free to browse our listings.

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