by Dan Rafter
Cautiously optimistic. That was the mindset that retailers in Kansas City had in 2014, according to the latest retail report from LANE4 Property Group.
According to the report, Kansas City’s retail market saw steady, stable growth last year. Some key areas of the market were more active, enjoying strong growth as 2014 went on.
Overall, the statistics weren’t especially impressive. LANE4 reports that the retail occupancy rate for the Kansas City market dropped a tenth of a percent in 2014, falling to 89.8 percent from 89.9 percent one year earlier.
Lease rates also remained stagnant, dropping to an average of $12.85 a square foot in 2014 from $12.88 a square foot one year earlier.
That would seem to be fairly negative news. But LANE4 did uncover plenty of positive news, too. The best news? A growing number of retailers are now looking to open new locations in the Kansas City area. That can only provide a boost to the market in 2015 and beyond.
LANE4 pointed to several big retail deals in the region, too. First Washington Realty Inc. purchased 130,000 square feet of retail and office space in the Brookside Shopping Center just south of the Country Club Plaza. BIG Shopping Center USA purchased Creekwood Commons at the southwest corner of Englewood Road and North Oak Trafficway in North Kansas City.
LANE4 highlighted plenty of positive retail developments on the horizon, too. For instance, a new Sam’s Club will open on the west side of Interstate-35 in Northeast Kansas City this year. This will be the seventh Sam’s Club location in the Kansas City area. It will also be the first large-format wholesale retailer in the region’s Liberty Market area.
The most notable retail development in the Kansas City region last year? LANE4 argues that it might be the September opening last year of IKEA in Merriam, Kansas, in the North Johnson County submarket. Hobby Lobby plans to open a new location adjacent to this store in 2014.