Thursday, July 15, 2010

Retail Vacancy Flat in Second Quarter, Some Large Leases Signed


Retail vacancy was unchanged at 8.0% during the Second Quarter, with negative 20,547 sf of absorption. Vacancy in Central City decreased nearly a percentage point to 10.9%. Vacancy in Southeast/East Clackamas increased more than a percentage point to 6.5%, with more than 20,000 sf of negative absorption each at Clackamas Town Center and Hilltop Mall. However, there was considerable leasing activity in big-box stores that are not tracked in our report. For instance, Salvation Army leased about 40,000 sf at the former Linens ‘n Things on SE 82nd, and Dick’s leased the nearly 50,000 sf former Joe’s Sports, Outdoors & More at Johnson Creek Crossing in Clackamas.

Vancouver vacancy rose by half a percentage point to 11.0%, with 46,688 sf of negative absorption. At Columbia Square – Vancouver, 20,000 sf became available. This is a portion of the former Joe’s Sports, Outdoor & More space, which is partially occupied by Chuck’s Produce (expected to open in August).

Noteworthy News

Closely watched indicators of the health of the retail market were mixed during the Second Quarter. Retail sales grew by a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.6% in April, but fell by 1.2% in May. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index also dropped by almost 10 points to 52.9 in June. Economists didn’t expect such a significant decrease, as the index had been rising since February.

Portland continues to attract large tenants of all kinds. In recent months, Ultimate Electronics, which was acquired by Hollywood Video founder and former CEO Mark Wattles, leased the 40,000 sf former Levitz Furniture building in Beaverton. Two new clothing stores are also in the works: H&M confirmed its Pioneer Place store will open this fall, and Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth will open at Bridgeport Village September 2. Nordstrom Rack also leased 48,344 sf at Cascade Plaza Shopping Center.

Signs of life were present in the Portland retail investment market during the Second Quarter. Retail Opportunity Investments, Corp., purchased Vancouver Market Center in Vancouver for $11.19 million, and is under contract to purchase a portfolio of four other centers in the Portland Metro Area from Gramor Development for about $90 million.

Though retail development has slowed, with our report tracking just under 30,000 sf of space under construction in the metro area, some activity and future planning is occurring. Big Al’s, the popular bowling center in Clark County, has a second 66,000 sf location under construction at Progress Ridge in Beaverton. It is expected to open in August, and developers hope the site will also be the future home of New Seasons and Cinetopia.

The full report is available here.

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