Industrial REIT ProLogis is, simply put, the face of industrial real estate activity around the world.
It is the largest provider of this asset class in the US—in the Americas alone it owns 435 million
square feet of product—and has many significant holdings globally. It is led by Hamid Moghadam,
founder and CEO, who is as comfortable on the television news, where he makes regular appearances, as he is in the boardroom and before investors.
How did the company reach these pinnacles? Much has to do with Moghadam’s vision and his
ability to spot and navigate the trends driving this market. He can be credited, for example, for realizing decades ago the impact that e-commerce would eventually have on the industrial space.
FOUNDER & CEO
The company formed in 1983 when Douglas Abbey, Hamid Moghadam and T. Robert Burke (he
actually joined in 1984) founded AMB Property Corp., focusing on investment in office, industrial
and community shopping centers on behalf of major institutional investors. It didn’t take long,
though, for the company to begin narrowing its focus and by the late 1980s it had exited the office
market to focus on industrial and retail in certain infill areas.
The company expanded outside the US for the first time in 1996 with an acquisition in Mexico.
It was in 1998 when the company changed its name to ProLogis and made its first—but hardly its
last—billion-dollar acquisition, of Meridian Industrial Trust.
The company has hit numerous milestones since including its recent proposal to acquire rival industrial REIT DCT Industrial
Trust in a stock-for-stock deal for $8.4 billion. Like all the transactions ProLogis has made—too numerous to recount here—this
one makes strategic sense as the two industrial portfolios are highly complementary, Moghadam has said, with DCT Industrial’s 71
million-square foot portfolio giving ProLogis added heft in such markets as Denver-based DCT Industrial Trust’s 71 million
Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, New York/New Jersey, Seattle and South Florida.
ProLogis has also made a name for itself as an innovator. It is among the first to develop in the US multistory warehouses in infill
locations—a development that should ease some of the chronic lack of space in the last mile markets. It is also proving adept at
using advanced analytics and other technology to better predict where demand will grow and to help wring even more efficiencies
out of its mammoth portfolio. It is these initiatives, Moghadam said of the DCT Industrial portfolio acquisition that will allow
Prologis “to capture significant scale economies immediately.”
Based in Minneapolis, Ryan Cos. is a national developer that focuses on several asset classes including industrial. The company has multiple offices across the US following decades of expansion
since its founding in 1938 by James Henry Ryan when he purchased the Frederick Lumber Co.
and renamed it Ryan Lumber and Coal.
Today it is the proud developer of several noteworthy industrial projects including a 2.3-million-
square foot, 60-acre Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee, MN and the 1.1-million-square foot
Mills Fleet Farm in Chippewa Falls, WI. The industrial division is led by 28-year industry veteran
Paul Springthorpe, senior vice president, industrial.
This June marked a milestone for the company: for the first time in Ryan’s 80-year history nonfamily members will lead the company. President and chief executive officer Pat Ryan stepped
aside from his duties to become chairman of the company’s board of directors as Brian Murray
assumed the helm.
The change was part of a succession plan developed over several years with Ryan’s board of
directors. Said Murray as the announcement was made: “This is an important time for our company as we look ahead to future opportunities. In a world where the pace of change is accelerating,
we need to innovate and change while maintaining our strong culture.”
38 REAL ESTATE FORUM JULY/AUGUST 2018