Unified industrial Breaks Ground on Second Phase of Greater Osaka Logistics Project

Unified industrial Breaks Ground on Second Phase of Greater Osaka Logistics Project

Shiga Shed

Unified Industrial is developing a warehouse outside Japan’s usual logistic hubs (Image: Unified Industrial)

Tokyo-based developer Unified Industrial has started construction on the second phase of a warehouse project in Shiga prefecture northeast of Osaka, aiming to support the e-commerce sector with the site’s connectivity to Greater Nagoya and Kyoto.

The developer backed by Australia’s Macquarie Asset Management told Mingtiandi late last week that it now expects to complete the two-phase project by June 2025 to add approximately 188,000 square metres (2 million square feet) of new logistics space to serve both the Chubu and Kansai regions.

“The chosen site in Shiga Prefecture is strategically located within a 4-hour driving radius, granting access to Kyoto (35 mins drive), Osaka (60 mins drive), and Nagoya (90 mins drive), enabling operators in the logistics and e-commerce industries to tap into the markets of 15 prefectures and cities, encompassing approximately 30 percent of Japan’s total population.” said Joshua Olsan, chief executive officer and founder of Unified Industrial.

The move takes place after Unified Industrial said earlier this year that it aims to raise the firm’s assets under management to $2.8 billion on an end-value basis by establishing two investment ventures in Japan and one in China.

Exploiting a Policy Wrinkle

For the second phase of its Shiga project, Unified Industrial will develop a warehouse with two central ramps, allowing full vehicle access to every floor of the 4-storey building. The facility will span a net lettable area of 107,800 square metres with amenities including a driver’s lounge, and an unmanned convenience store.

Josh Olsan UI

Unified Industrial chief executive officer and founder.Joshua Olsan (Image: Unified Industrial)

The developer added that the facility will be equipped with rooftop solar panels, temperature control measures, a password authentication system streamlining truck access, and sensor-activated LED lighting for improved energy efficiency.

Unified Industrial said it has pre-leased 26 percent of the upcoming facility’s first floor to a leading third-party logistics provider in Japan.

The company started construction on the first phase of the project in February with that building set to provide 59,200 square metres of net rentable area of when completed in April next year. The developer noted that the three-storey structure has a vehicle access ramp serving the first two floors with Nittsu, one of Japan’s largest logistics companies, having already committed to occupying the entire distribution centre.

The project’s location in Shiga is 200 metres from National Road 1 and 1.5 kilometres away from the Ritto-Konan interchange, which provides connectivity to nearby prefectures including Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Nara.

Shiga itself is home to manufacturing facilities belonging to global giants including Mitsubishi, Panasonic, and IBM.

Hideaki Suzuki, senior director of research for Japan at Cushman & Wakefield, said that industrial developers have been eyeing opportunities outside of the country’s usual logistics hubs due to a revised labour law set to take effect in April next year.

“Non-traditional logistics areas like Shiga are getting more attention from logistics players due to ‘the 2024 problem’ where a new law will prevent truck drivers from working over 960 hours of overtime, decreasing the distance that they can travel,” said Suzuki. “With this expected shortfall in cargo transportation, the logistics industry is re-thinking their existing logistics footprints, triggering demand for relay distribution hubs between consumer areas.”

Having partnered with Macquarie in 2021, Unified Industrial has developed and invested in 232 logistics and industrial projects in Japan and China since the firm’s inception in 2008.

Japanese Shed Surge

Unified Industrial’s launch of this latest phase of its Shiga project forms part of a growing wave of activity in Japan’s logistics real estate sector with GLP last week breaking ground on an 84,500 square metre warehouse in Greater Tokyo.

Earlier this month, Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC acquired two Japanese industrial assets, one in Greater Osaka and another in Greater Fukuoka, from local property giant Daiwa House Industry.

In August, industrial giant ESR began construction of a warehouse complex northwest of Osaka, with the developer calling the project Japan’s largest-ever logistics park with a planned gross floor area of 750,000 square metres.

According to MSCI Real Assets, acquisitions of income-earning Japanese industrial assets for totalled $6 billion during the first nine months of 2023, a record level for the first three quarters of a year.

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