The rapidly changing face of retail is creating the need and opportunity to establish distribution centers closer to more consumers. Consequently, many municipalities are taking proactive steps to facilitate last-mile delivery solutions.

By way of example, Fairfax County, through its Zoning Ordinance Modernization Program, is proposing a new use category for “Goods Distribution Hub.” A new hub would allow additional permitting and flexibility for distribution centers to be located in more zoning districts and ultimately serve more urban and dense population centers. This new use category creates more permissibility in commercial retail districts, including to allow repurposing of commercial buildings to better accommodate distribution centers and help revitalize and stabilize brick-and-mortar destinations. COVID-19 has accelerated the need to creatively repurpose commercial real estate — a trend that will continue across the real estate industry and business communities as retailers develop solutions for success in the highly competitive e-commerce environment.