The boom in online shopping has led to the growth of a new subsector of industrial space: e-commerce fulfillment centers. These properties differ from traditional warehouses in three key ways—a need for more workers, greater automation and robotics requirements and higher ceilings—and are popping up in major industrial markets all over the country, including New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona and Kentucky. More significantly, they are viewed as a giving the industrial sector a real boost and present opportunities for investors who understand the nuances.

Chuck Belden, executive director of Cushman and....

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