By Dan Rafter
Consumers are spending again in Columbus. How much? Marcus & Millichap recently reported that consumer spending has increased enough so that retail vacancy rates in the Columbus market are now at half of where they stood during their peak in 2010.
Lower vacancy rates have been an inspiration to developers here, who are on track to build more than 900,000 square feet of retail space in the metropolitan Columbus area in 2016. This follows the completion of 480,000 square feet of retail space in the previous year.
Developers are especially focused on the Delaware County and Columbus East submarkets, according to Marcus & Millichap. This includes the areas surrounding the cities of Westerville and Gahanna.
The retail vacancy is expected to fall 40 basis points in 2016, hitting 5.2 percent by the time the year ends, according to Marcus & Millichap. The company says that downtown Columbus and nearby suburbs will remain in high demand, with vacancy rates below 5 percent. Retail vacancy rates fell in the Columbus market last year, too, falling by 60 basis points in 2015.
As vacancies fell, rents rose. Marcus & Millichap reported that rent for marketed retail space should rise 3.9 percent to $11.88 a square foot in 2016. Areas in and around the downtown core of Columbus should see rates rise to even higher levels.