Warehousing and city development

Businesses that sell physical goods need warehouses to keep inventory. While this sounds obvious, it's not clear where businesses should locate them. As transportation technologies have improved, warehouses have moved further away from urban centers. Before mature rail networks, most warehouses were located adjacent to seaports. Then as rail became more prevalent, warehouses moved further out of town along major thoroughfares. Now, with mature highways, warehouses can be even more spread out away from urban centers.

As an asset class, warehouses are consistent. Tenants just want them to be dry, safe, and flat. Over time height requirements have changed with the introduction of technologies like the forklift that allow for greater utilization of vertical space.

Now that customers are routinely demanding same day delivery, I wonder if there will be a push to bring some warehousing back to urban centers.