The Charleston, South Carolina retail market encompasses six distinct sub-markets located within Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley Counties. Excluding enclosed malls and the King Street Corridor of Peninsula Charleston, the Greater Charleston market contains 10,654,150 square feet of retail space. At mid-year 2003, vacant space totals 1,492,103 square feet or 14.00%. The average rental rate is $13.76 per square foot per year, and average pass-throughs for taxes, insurance and common area maintenance is $2.91 per square foot annually. The entire market is experiencing new development activity, with the greatest occurring in the North Charleston and East Cooper sub-markets. Older centers are renovating to attract new anchor tenants as former anchors take flight to new development. An influx of national retailers is putting upward pressure on rental rates and providing momentum for the development of power centers.
Peninsula Charleston is flush with hotels, restaurants, antique stores and boutique retail shops typical of "resort retail", but it is the smallest of the sub-markets in terms of shopping centers. Limited land available for sprawling centers or parking lots makes the Peninsula Charleston sub-market unique in the area. The dynamics of this sub-market produce smaller centers with higher rents and lower vacancies. The total surveyed square footage in this sub-market is 519,125, with 44,835 square feet or 8.64% vacant. The average annual rental rate is $27.37 on the strength of Shops at Charleston Place, with an average annual pass-through of $8.70 per square foot. Rental rates for boutiques along the King Street corridor exceed the average and top out at $65.00 per foot. Though large developable tracts remain few, a recent review of the Peninsula Charleston sub-market by a national retail consultant indicated that this sub-market was primed for more retail development in the near future.
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