The Portland area’s overall retail vacancy rose about half a percentage point to 8.0%, with negative 293,920 sf of absorption. Central City saw the greatest increase of 1.5% for a total vacancy of 11.7%, the highest of any submarket. Nearly 15,000 sf is currently available at One Main Place, and Pioneer Place has about 50,000 sf available. Vacancy also rose nearly a percentage point in the Southeast/East Clackamas and Eastside submarkets. Vancouver vacancy stayed steady at 10.5%, though 59,573 sf was absorbed at Columbia Square. The 93,000 sf Bowyer Marketplace WinCo store, at the corner of NE 119th Street and 117th Avenue, delivered this quarter.
Construction remains slow, with 24,499 sf under construction throughout the Metro area. 17,000 sf of this is a freestanding building at 13233 SE McLoughlin in the Southeast/East Clackamas submarket.
The national retail market is showing signs of a slow recovery. Consumer spending rose for the fifth straight month in February, by 0.3%, according to the Commerce Department. And the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) expects retailers to close fewer stores in 2010 than in 2009. But many retailers continue to face challenges, and Saks Fifth Avenue announced that it would close its two downtown Portland stores. It is rumored that Swedish retailer H&M will take over the 23,000 sf men’s store, and Saks will vacate the 60,000 sf main store by the end of July. Area officials are working to find a quality tenant for this space. In one bit of good news, Saks may open an Off Fifth store, which offers discounted designer clothing and accessories, at Bridgeport Village.
Though restaurants have been challenged during the recession, Portland’s restaurant scene has remained solid. Affordable, casual restaurants have generally fared better during the recession than their higher-priced counterparts, so many are focusing on this market. For instance, Foster Burger opened late last year in Southeast, and Little Big Burger is expected to open in Northwest this spring. Some of Portland’s popular food carts are even opening storefronts – Korean taco truck Koi Fusion, has opened a restaurant on NW Lovejoy. Some higher-end restaurants are also in the works – Lucier is expected to reopen in South Waterfront, and a group from San Francisco plans on opening a restaurant in the former Bay 13 space in the Pearl.
Specialty grocery stores have continued to do relatively well. The Whole Foods Market on NE 43rd and NE Sandy in Hollywood opened in January, and work has begun on the New Seasons Market on SE 40th and Hawthorne, which has long been delayed but is expected to open this fall.
Featured Deal: John’s Incredible Pizza Lease
John’s Incredible Pizza, a family entertainment restaurant with ten locations in California, is opening its 11th location in Portland. John’s leased 46,212 sf at the former Circuit City at Washington Green Shopping Center, 9180 SW Hall Boulevard, Tigard. John’s features a pizza, salad, soup, pasta and dessert buffet, as well as themed dining rooms and carnival-style rides and video and ticket-dispensing games. It’s expected to open in First Quarter 2011. NAI NBS Real Estate Broker J.J. Unger and NAI Capital Senior Vice President Irwin Hyman of Encino, California, represented the tenant.