Columbia Retail Market Shows Its Resilience

Second quarter report shows steady, moderate growth in slow economy

August 07, 2008

By Neil White – The State

The Columbia area’s retail market held steady through the first six months of 2008 despite a lack of slowdown in new-store construction, according to midyear reports by the area commercial real estate firms.

While Colliers Keenan noted a small decline in occupancy — from 90.8 percent at year-end 2007 to 90.1 through June of this year — director of marketing and research Ryan Hyler remained confident about the state of the market.

“Columbia has a very strong retail market. It’s largely value-based market with discount stores and big-box stores. For that reason it’s very stable,” he said.

Charleston-based retail analyst Britt Beemer said those figures for the Columbia market are positive ones. Holding ground in this economy is a sign of strength.

“Based upon where the rest of the country is, those are excellent numbers,” he said.

The Grubb & Ellis/Wilson Kibler retail report for the second quarter called Columbia’s market good in a boring way. Columbia may not have as much nonstop construction or large rental-rate jumps in boom times, but it does maintain steady or moderate growth in down times.

“We’re seeing a little bit of quiet on the retail market,” said Grubb & Ellis/Wilson Kibler commercial real estate broker Sherri Burriss, who added developers are showing more caution before breaking ground on projects.



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