Archive for Thursday, January 17, 2013

Downtown retail vacancy rate drops in 2012 as new projects begin

January 17, 2013


As downtown Lawrence gets ready for a major year of construction, it already has had a bounce-back year, according to a new report released Thursday.

Retail vacancy rates in downtown fell to 4.4 percent at the end of 2012, according to a new survey from the Lawrence commercial real estate office of Colliers International. Last year at this time, the survey found downtown had a vacancy rate of 7.4 percent after several high-profile closings.

“Last year everybody thought the sky was falling in downtown,” said Kelvin Heck, a broker with the Lawrence Colliers office.

But Heck speculates that several pending multimillion-dollar projects — including a new hotel building at Ninth and New Hampshire and a $19 million expansion of the Lawrence Public Library — have caused businesses to take another look at the downtown area. The fact that the completed 901 Building — a multistory apartment and office building at Ninth and New Hampshire — is fully leased also has spurred confidence.

“The amount of housing that is being added in downtown is catching people’s attention,” Heck said. “I think it is still very clear that when people come to visit Lawrence, downtown is still the place that they are going to end up.”

The city’s overall retail vacancy rate, however, did inch up in 2012, rising to 5.4 percent, up from 4.5 percent. But the survey found almost all of that increase was attributable to the closing of the Sears store on South Iowa Street. The South Iowa Street corridor had a retail vacancy rate of 7.5 percent, and the East 23rd Street corridor had a vacancy rate of 8.2 percent. All other areas of town had vacancy rates below 5 percent. The national retail vacancy rate is about 7 percent and the Kansas City area retail vacancy rate is about 9 percent.

Other figures from the report include:

• The city’s industrial vacancy rate increased to 8.3 percent in 2012, up from about 6 percent in 2011. Much of the space is the former E&E; Display Group building on Haskell Avenue, which was vacated recently when Berry Plastics moved into its new warehouse facility. The national industrial vacancy rate is about 10 percent, while the Kansas City area rate is about 7 percent.

• Lawrence’s office vacancy rate dropped to 9.7 percent, its lowest level since the fall of 2001. The rate was at 10.6 percent a year ago. The national rate is about 12 percent and the Kansas City rate is about 13 percent.


Eugehne Normandin 5 years ago

The Library expansion will attract book mark stores.

flyin_squirrel 5 years ago

Lawrence's vacancy rates are lower than KC and the National Average, yet we still hear Merrill say we are overbuilt...

Bob Forer 5 years ago

How bout a scotch tape store, like the one in the old SNL skit.

flyin_squirrel 5 years ago

There goes all PROFESSOR Kirk McClures studies about the retail market in Lawrence being overbuilt...

no_thanks 5 years ago

I thought we were way overbuilt on retail.

George_Braziller 5 years ago

Good luck trying to find a place to park this summer.

flyin_squirrel 5 years ago

Merrill? Merrill? Merrill? I cannot hear you Merrill...

Imagine that, getting more people living in downtown actually helps all the businesses out...

pizzapete 5 years ago

Or maybe a bunch of people just recently had the same idea to open a Mexican restaurant. My guess is we'll continue to see new businesses play musical chairs with one closing and another one opening up every couple months as is typical with downtown Lawrence, more apartments or no. The fact remains, rents are too high for most new business to remain or thrive downtown. It seems to me the only businesses who seem to make it downtown for any great length of time are the ones that own their own propery or don't rent from your buddy Doug.

flyin_squirrel 5 years ago

On average, only 1 in 10 small businesses last more than 5 years. So if you are getting into business you know your chances of being one of those musical chairs is fairly good. If rents are too high, why less vacancies downtown? Guess if you already have your mind made up, you aren't going to look at the facts anyway.

pizzapete 5 years ago

Why are there less vacancies downtown? Because there are more apartments? Maybe, but I wouldn't bet on it. Maybe Lawrence always was and will always be a better place to open a Mexican Restaurant than say Topeka or Overland Park? It's hard to say, maybe because the Obama administration is actually starting to get us out of the hole we found ourselves in 5 years ago? Let's hope the economy is on the mend, whatever the reason. More economic activity is good for everyone, I'm glad to see it regardless of what the immediate cause may be and I hope it continues a great long while into the future.

flyin_squirrel 5 years ago

Must be a LAN meeting tonight that Merrill is at spewing his fibs to all his merry no-growth friends.

Currahee 5 years ago

Shops to spend your money... but what happens when no one spends their money due to having only minimum wage jobs?

bearded_gnome 5 years ago

yes, Retail vacancy rates in downtown fell to 4.4 percent at the end of 2012, according to a new survey from the Lawrence commercial real estate office of Colliers International. Last year at this time, the survey found downtown had a vacancy rate of 7.4 percent after several high-profile closings.

and office vacancy under 10%, published here, maybe Merrill had a head-explosion-problem?

Chad, you're just printing this baiting Merrill, riiiight?
anyway, this is good news. sadly, it'll get buried under mounds of mindless cut-and-paste vapid emptinesses from Merrill trying to deny these facts on other threads.

Maddy Griffin 5 years ago

So, any plans for the old E&E building?

bearded_gnome 5 years ago

whoa, still no sign of Merrill? quick! somebody send a whambulance to his house!

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years ago

Wait... I thought retail was overbuilt? That's what Merrill has been pasting for years.

flyin_squirrel 5 years ago

Funny how few comments this article has received.... Guess most the negative posters on the boards take Fridays off, or maybe the library being closed has removed their access to computers.

jack22 5 years ago

The article could of just as easily read "Downtown retail vacancy rate drops in 2012 as..." city adds standardized trash carts or city adds more roundabouts or city approves recreation center or the fear of Mayan Apocalypse ends.

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