European supply chain infrastructure specialist Blackbrook is looking to enter two or three new markets this year while moving forward towards its goal of reaching one million m2 over the next 12 months, says founder Arvi Luoma.
Arvi Luoma, founder of Blackbrook Capital, the European logistics property platform, sees growth as the main priority going forward. 'We will be looking to build our portfolio as quickly as we can,' Luoma tells PropertyEU in an interview. 'We are in a challenging environment, with a lot of competition and very tight yields, plus rising inflation and interest rates. But the reality is, occupier demand remains enormous, the supply of high quality “future-proof” ESG-certified stock is low, and the rental growth story is there, providing defense against those market dynamics.'
Set up in 2020 by Arvi Luoma, formerly of WP Carey, and Gordon DuGan, formerly of Gramercy Property Trust, Blackbrook has built up a roughly 500,000 m2 portfolio and entered six markets over the past two years. It is currently active in the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Poland, as well as Portugal and Spain. The privately-held firm has a flexible investment approach including build-to-suit, spec development, sale and leasebacks as well as net lease assets.
'We went through the setup phase, and the goal now is to continue to build the portfolio with attractive long-term supply-chain assets. I'd like to see us cross the one million m2 mark over the next 12 months,' Luoma said. The firm will focus on existing markets as well as scouting for opportunities in new regions, he added. 'It would be great to see more activity in our existing markets, and also to enter new countries and regions such as the Nordics, Germany, Czech, France and Italy.'
Commenting on recent developments in the logistics market, Luoma said that the sector is getting increasingly sophisticated. ‘The primary trends are e-commerce, the onshoring of warehousing and particularly bringing more of the supply chain to Europe for shock resilience, but also sustainability is a major factor. At the same time, one needs to increasingly involve the community and local authorities in the design phase. The truth is nobody really wants to live near a warehouse despite the employment and delivery benefits, which is understandable. The environmental and social considerations are making land zoning increasingly challenging, particularly in some countries (e.g. the Netherlands, which has relatively recently changed its views and is making development increasingly difficult).'
He continued: 'This situation will only get more and more complex to navigate from a development perspective and naturally this has an impact on availability and rents. To promote the development of logistics assets, you need to consider how to minimise the overall carbon footprint and the impact on the local community, optimise circulation and movement on both trucks and people, as well as include more employee-centric facilities such as sport pitches, gyms, better catering facilities and so on. The development of logistics assets today is far more sophisticated and nuanced than even 5-10 years ago.'