Michael S. Frankel and Howard Schwimmer

Howard Schwimmer and Michael Frankel

Co-CEOs at Rexford Industrial Realty

Michael S. Frankel and Howard Schwimmer
By September 18, 2023 9:00 AM

Rexford Industrial Realty is one of the country’s largest industrial real estate investment trusts with a sharp focus on the nation’s top market: Southern California.

The Los Angeles-based firm has surpassed $1.2 billion in investment so far in 2023, with another $300 million underway. The portfolio includes about 370 properties with more than 45 million square feet of industrial space. It amounts to more than 2 percent of Southern California’s warehousing market, and it’s 98 percent occupied.

Rexford continues its familiar formula to redevelop and reposition properties and push increased lease spreads. The firm has 9 million square feet of value-add repositioning and redevelopment projects. One recent example: Electric vehicle manufacturer Harbinger Motors is more than quintupling its physical footprint and relocating its headquarters to a Rexford property near Anaheim.

With higher interest rates, the industrial investment market is normalizing after the runaway post-pandemic years. Nationally, industrial sales volume was $98.5 billion last year, but only $27 billion in transactions were logged year-to-date through July. 

Rexford also slowed its rapid buying spree in the second quarter this year with $83.3 million in acquisitions, a fraction of the $762.2 million closed in the first quarter.

“As expected, we are seeing our infill markets normalizing in terms of market occupancy compared to the extraordinary levels achieved during the pandemic,” Michael Frankel said this month during Rexford’s earnings call. “Directionally, occupancy is approaching pre-pandemic levels, which, at that time, also represented a very strong market.”

But action has appeared to be ramping back up with almost $300 million in sales since the start of the summer. Rexford also has reported higher operating income each quarter this year.

Howard Schwimmer started working for Rexford’s predecessor companies nearly 22 years ago, and Frankel joined in 2005 after working at the private equity firm C3, a subsidiary of Comcast.