What are Key Considerations When Planning an Industrial Site?

Jim Terry, Principal, Commercial Architecture
Anthony Cataldo, Director, Commercial Architecture

You have a site you are considering for an industrial project, but you aren’t certain your development plan is going to work within the parameters of the property. This is where effective site planning comes into play. We can help you identify the benefits and drawbacks of the particular parcel to make the right decision for your company or client’s needs. Expert site planning helps to ensure a solid return on your commercial real estate investment. From our experience laying out hundreds of industrial sites each year, here are some key considerations:


When planning a site, it is important to understand market demands and stay updated on the specific needs of tenants in the market the site is located within. At Ware Malcomb, we collaborate and maintain strong relationships with brokers in the region to recognize the nuances of the market. As building and site requirements differ from one region to another, we leverage our local project experience to understand the most desirable module to fit the market. We also design projects for exit strategy to make sure the long term real estate value remains for future consideration.


When considering circulation, we seek to understand how a truck operates around the site to optimize access, exits, and routes. We design truck courts for easy maneuverability into each dock position. Sometimes we utilize truck simulation software to improve design, especially for denser sites. A good site plan keeps car and truck turn circulation separated as much as possible, while also promoting safe internal pedestrian passage.

Parking Ratio

Knowing each jurisdiction is key when determining parking requirements. Every city or county has different parking ratio requirements that are usually dependent on the building size and usage. Not only are there specific parking regulations, there are also exceptions that allow alternate means to meet requirements. Many cities have Green Building components that allow for sites to incorporate public transportation or alternative plans in exchange for additional parking. Understanding each city’s General Plan requirements (found on the city website) helps expedite a possible back-and-forth permit process with the city. This creates a realistic expectation for what is feasible for the site, as well as saves our clients both time and money.

Storm Water Treatment

Every site needs an engineering team to review and recommend plans for storm water treatment and detention areas. Site development plans should mitigate debris, soil particles, and dissolved chemicals from entering the drainage system. Utilization of the natural landscape to move, store, and filter storm water runoff before it leaves the site is important. Green practices such as these will not only improve the environmental footprint of the site, but also develop future marketability.

About Ware Malcomb Site Planning

Ware Malcomb has a dedicated Site Planning Studio, including architects and civil engineers with extensive experience planning sites throughout our markets. Ware Malcomb has designed over a billion square feet of industrial properties, with 70 million square feet designed across North America in 2015. Our proven leadership in this product type, along with our extensive local knowledge uniquely positions us as an industry leader.   We coordinate with both developers and corporate end-users to provide innovative design. For more information about how we can assist you with your site, please contact us.


Jim Terry
Commercial Architecture








Anthony Cataldo
Commercial Architecture