Finding Potential in Forgotten Industrial Sites

How Split-level Industrial Could Work in Forgotten Industrial Sites

Every day, developers drive past prime industrial real estate sites that could be warehouse-perfect, were it not for the sloped grade that would cost too much to excavate to make the facility level. Enter a new solution: a split-level building that doubles the space by creating efficiencies in construction costs and land use.

This unique multistory prototype design solution by Ware Malcomb can help utilize forgotten sites that were previously deemed unsuitable for industrial development due to their complex topography.

Frank Di Roma, OAA, MRAIC, regional vice president, and Luke Corsbie, PE, PLS, LEED AP, regional director, civil engineering, both with Ware Malcomb, walked I.CON East attendees through this exciting new concept and discussed the benefits of using split-level industrial in unexpected locations.

Di Roma said the design approach is to take advantage of grade to maximize coverage by trading construction of a retaining wall, which would have been required to manage the grade change for development of a one-story facility, for construction of basement walls of the lower-level portion of the two-story project.

Truck courts on both grade levels allow for dual loading bays, essentially creating a facility that can be multitenanted as two single-load buildings. Construction costs aren’t hard to calculate for the building – it’s twice the cost of one level, joked Di Roma, plus the land development fees to move cubic yards of dirt. For any multistory, the biggest challenge is the length and width of the site, particularly for ramping. As these types of projects are typically in the outskirts and not in the urban core, space is less of a premium.

Ware Malcomb’s multistory industrial projects have been featured in NAIOP’s Development magazine.

JLL logo

This post is brought to you by JLL, the social media and conference blog sponsor of NAIOP’s I.CON East 2023. Learn more about JLL at or

You Might Also Like