Superior performance makes logistics real estate solutions provider Realterm a vital collaborator for cargo movers
We’re all very familiar with the alphabet soup of cargo companies entrusted with keeping commerce flowing, such as UPS, XPO, DHL, FedEx, and many others. Now it’s time to get acquainted with the dynamic hidden advantage they leverage in their quest. Simply put, without the right real estate and proper infrastructure to hold and turn over their cargo, many of their other critical capital investments would be money burned. That’s where Realterm comes in.
The Annapolis, Md.-based real estate powerhouse specializes in locating, securing, amending, and developing High Flow-Through (HFT) Facilities™ for fast moving clientele. HFT spaces are designed to meet demanding ground and air delivery transportation turnarounds, and range from cargo buildings and hangars, cross-dock terminals, and distribution centers to maintenance and airport ground support equipment facilities.
As Realterm’s senior VP of construction, Stephen Powell guides the department “in producing durable assets across all Realterm’s platforms that meet the tenants’ and market’s needs while creating and preserving value for investors.”
With a seven-strong project management and admin team, Powell’s group serves as the anchor for construction expertise in all of Realterm’s major building efforts, including ground transportation asset repositioning and redevelopment efforts that add value to existing properties through Realterm Logistics, and developing and operating new properties for Tier 1 airports through the Aeroterm division.
Realterm Logistics for Ground Transportation Companies on the Move
“On the logistics side we have dozens of small projects. For example, we took an existing building in Rancho Cucamonga, added docks, additional paving and parking, and turned it from a Class B or C industrial asset to a Class A HFT industrial asset,” Powell explained. “We do physical evaluations for the buildings that we’re looking to acquire, making sure they can be made fit for purpose, and provide due diligence support to our acquisition team, helping with pricing and capital plans.”
The construction group also acts as a resource for property managers company-wide, supporting them with technical expertise. For example, when somebody is doing a repaving job at a project we’ll be there to help with any issues they might encounter.”
Cross-dock facilities are a Realterm Logistics specialty, serving LTL, 3PL, transload, intermodal, and multimodal carriers. “These stations act as a spoke in the wheel of the logistics platform. A carrier might bring cargo in a 53- or 60-foot truck into an HFT and move some of the goods into smaller box trucks to be distributed at the final mile facility.” While the division’s focus stays primarily on asset redevelopment, Powell noted that development can be part of the mix. “In Los Angeles, we recently knocked down a facility and built a secure truck parking lot for a multi-modal tenant. We do whatever our customers need to keep their goods moving, because their success is our success.”
With a transaction volume ranging from a minimum of $3 million to over $500 million, Realterm Logistics sets its sights on single asset and portfolio acquisitions as well as sale leasebacks, build-to-suit, and buy-to-suit properties in primary and key secondary logistics markets across the country. They find ideal locations with superior road, rail, and port access near key transport nodes and large population centers.
Problem solving is a Realterm strong suit and the cornerstone of building great relationships with tenants. “We work with our tenants to make sure that they're successful and that sets us apart.” On occasion that’s even meant a measure of financial support. “Back in the day, we helped a tenant by buying assets from them and helping them through a tough financial time,” he recalled. “While we work with a lot of big tenants, we give the same level of service to everybody regardless of their size.”
Aeroterm: A Higher Level of Airport Facility
The development-focused Aeroterm division builds sophisticated facilities for the nation’s gateway airports, with 19 million square feet of property and development at over 35 sites. As the leading owner and provider of capital, expertise, and facility related services to these critical hubs, the division applies over 25 years of experience in air cargo operations and other airport-related activities to its endeavors.
Aeroterm is a key player in the air cargo redevelopment program at New York’s John F. Kennedy International (JFK), tasked with building a 300,000 square foot warehouse with an additional 50,000 sq ft of office space. The facility features three group six plane positions. Cargo carriers coming through Chicago O’Hare (ORD) will benefit from Aeroterm’s involvement in Phase 3 of the hub’s cargo development, a 130,000 sq ft facility.
“Our facilities range anywhere from 20,000 to 600,000 square feet, and they also have a very good number of plane positions where cargo is brought from the belly of a plane to the building, served either by tug or a ramp.”
Aeroterm is known for meeting the many regulatory obligations presented by airport development. “You have to have the patience of a saint to build on airport property,” he opined. “No two airports are the same. As we say, ‘If you’ve seen one airport, you’ve seen one airport.’” Whether navigating the complexities of regulatory demands or ensuring that evolving security mandates are strictly enforced, Powell’s team rises to the most complex challenges.
“There are many environmental issues at airports that typically involve some sort of environmental remediation of the site. We work in conjunction with the airport since the airport still owns the land,” he added.
“We are working to make LEED-certified cargo buildings standard for Aeroterm. As part of that we build car charging stations in most of our new developments, and we’re building all new developments with roofs that can support solar panels. We’re also building our electric rooms larger to accommodate additional power capacity,” Powell revealed. Many major airports, such as LAX, are going to zero emission GSE.
Realterm’s partnership mandate for Aeroterm is clear. Said Powell, “We are the full service developer that works with our tenants to build facilities that works with their economics, and that ensures their continued success.”
Realterm is a $5+ bn AUM real estate operator focusing on durable insights into the supply and demand of real assets through the supply chain. Realterm currently manages over $2.4 billion of commingled equity through three logistics-oriented private equity fund series: Realterm Airport Logistics Properties, the largest portfolio of high flow-through on-airport logistics real estate in North America; Realterm Logistics Fund, a value-added fund series owning one of the largest portfolios of high flow-through surface transportation-related real estate in North America; and, along with Everstone Capital, IndoSpace Logistics Parks, an opportunistic fund series that has built the leading industrial development platform in India.