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Columbia retail market shows slight improvement during Q3


Staff Report
Published Nov. 14, 2012

Commercial retail leasing during the third quarter showed a slight uptick in the Columbia metropolitan area, NAI Avant reports.

The retail vacancy rate was 6.6% and net absorption totaled a positive 98,855 square feet, the commercial real estate firm said in its quarterly report.

That compares with 6.7% vacancy in the second quarter of 2012 and a net absorption of negative 150,459 square feet.

The amount of square footage leased has continued to decline from a high in the third quarter of 2011 of 302,153 square feet to 153,087 square feet for the past three-month period, the firm said.

One reason for the decline is that there’s less new unanchored space available, the report said.

Occupancy rates show a slight increase of 1.2% and rental rates are “virtually flat” at $12.10 per square foot.

One submarket seeing more commercial activity is northeast Columbia, said Patrick Palmer, a retail specialist with NAI Avant.

Development is under way at Killian’s Crossing, located near the interchange of Interstate 77 and Killian Road, and a few big-box retailers also are “on the radar in this area,” Palmer said.

About 50,000 square feet of commercial space is under construction in the northeast Columbia area and vacancy rate for the quarter was 6.7%.

“Downtown Columbia has seen positive growth as Main Street attracts new retailers,” he said. “Although data may reflect little change, the opinion citywide is that Columbia is starting to pick up speed.”

The Lexington submarket appears to be the tightest as far as square footage available to commercial customers. The report showed the area’s vacancy rate was 3.9%. The average rental rate for Lexington was $14.64, which was the highest in the Columbia region.

Although the Forest Acres submarket had a vacancy rate of 13.3% for the quarter — tied with Saluda for the highest in the region — the area commanded the second-highest rental rate of $14.28 per square foot.


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