What makes the Inland Empire one of the largest big-box industrial markets of America?

By: Sharjeel Sohaib


Sep 27, 2021


The Inland Empire is one of the largest big box industrial markets of the U.S, according to the latest research by CBRE, an American commercial real estate services and investment firm. An industrial big box facility is a warehouse/distribution center of 200K square-feet or more space.

With major freeways, three airports, and a large railway network, the Inland Empire adds between 10 million and 25 million sq. ft. of new space annually that is absorbed by Fortune 500 companies.

β€œThe Inland Empire is one of the largest big-box industrial markets in the U.S. The majority of its industrial base is Class A distribution space in a highly concentrated 30-mile radius area.

Dan de la Paz β€“ Executive Vice President, CBRE

The complete report can be accessed here.

100K People Employed in the Inland Empire’s Warehouse Industry

According to CBRE, “more than 100,000 people are employed in the warehouse industry. This is expected to grow 25% by 2030“. 

The location of the region gives it an advantage as it is close to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the two largest ports in North America. As mentioned above, the logistics network of the Inland Empire has all bases covered, from airports to freeways and a robust rail network.

And, each category of the transport network is fast becoming top logistics destination. Take for example the Ontario Airport and the San Bernardino International Airport. Amazon opened a new regional air hub in San Bernardino in April this year to provide fast delivery for customers in the Southern California region.

The Amazon Factor

It wouldn’t be an overestimation that Amazon has played a vital role in uplifting the region’s status as a thriving logistics hub. From two new fulfillment centers it plans to open in Victorville and Ontario in 2022 to the air hub in San Bernardino, the company has invested $19.3B in the Inland Empire since 2010 and added 40K+ jobs, according to the company’s U.S. Economic Impact Report.

Amazon is the largest private employer in the Inland Empire adding 40K jobs since it came here in 2010. The cumulative impact of Amazon’s presence in the region is that “air cargo volume into Ontario increased by 21% in 2020“, according to Aviation Pros.

Industrial Leasing Business Dominates the Inland Empire

Startempire Wire previously reported that “21 of the 100 industrial leases in the USA were bagged by the Inland Empire region. The real estate of this business totals to an area of about 17.5 million square feet“, per CBRE’s data.

That being said, within Inland Empire Riverside was home to two of the largest leases. One of these is the Sycamore Canyon Business Park. A high ratio of this industrial leasing activity is associated to e-Commerce companies as per CBRE’s data, 25 million square feet was leased in the Inland Empire in 2019, just by e-commerce firms.

Per UCR’s School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development report, business activity in the Inland Empire has increased to a whopping 2.3% in the 3rd quarter of 2019. This is higher than the US GDP of 1.9%, which was recorded in the same duration.

It appears the two key factors contributing to the region’s thriving logistics sector in general, and business growth in particular are demographics and infrastructure.

Per CBRE’s data, “16.3 million people live within 50 miles of the Inland Empire (IE) core, the second highest industrial market population in the country, behind Northern/Central New Jersey“. And, we already discussed how the cargo handling infrastructure, from airports to railway network (both BNSF and Union Pacific service the market) and freeways contributes to the Inland Empire being one of the largest U.S big-box industrial markets.

Our goal at Startempire Wire is to act as a megaphone to connect the dots between the best startups, events, and people in the Inland Empire. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and like/follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.  


  • Avatar Of Sharjeel

    Sharjeel joined Startempire Wire as emerging technologies editor. Earlier, he worked at Silicon Canals, a leading English language technology media source for the Benelux and wider Europe. He covered the European technology and startup ecosystem digging into latest funding rounds of startups.


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