Jobs, community spirit give Nashville’s commercial real estate market a boost

nashvilleby Dan Rafter

There are many reasons why Nashville’s commercial real estate industry is thriving today. But Nate Greene, president and managing partner of Colliers International’s Nashville office, sums it up like this:

“The city is a good place to live. People and businesses like being here.”

That might sound simple, but the evidence backs up Greene. Richard Florida, an economist and author of The Rise of the Creative Class, said that only three cities during the last five years enjoyed stronger economic growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics adds that Nashville is now creating new jobs at a faster rate than all but four major cities in the United States.

Nashville was also named the second-best startup paradise by the Young Entrepreneur Council, second-best city for jobs by Forbes and the eighth-most business-friendly city by CNN Money.

And it doesn’t look like the job growth is going to slow here any time soon. In late August, banking company UBS announced that it would bring 1,000 jobs over five years to downtown Nashville when it invests $36.5 million to build a shared-services center.

“At least in our office, we are on track to have our best year ever this year,” Greene said. “Our best year so far was last year. We are lined up to do even better in 2013. This market is doing very well right now. This market is in very good shape.”

The numbers

A look at two key economic reports illustrate just how strong Nashville’s commercial real estate market is today.

Cassidy Turley’s third-quarter industrial snapshot says that, driven by a strong performance from the automotive sector, Nashville’s industrial vacancy rate fell to 7.8 percent in the third quarter of 2013. At the same time, the industrial market absorbed more than 1.6 million square feet during the quarter. For the first three quarters of the year, Nashville’s industrial property market nas absorbed 2.9 million square feet of space.

Nashville also gained 28 company relocations and 93 expansions from July 2012 to June of 2013, according to the Nashville Area Chamber’s Partnership 2020 report. This will bring nearly 11,000 new jobs to the city.

Much of the credit for this growth goes to the auto industry. Nashville is home to Nissan, and this has brought a wave of auto-parts manufacturers to the market.

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