The Charleston MSA continues to enjoy robust growth since the year-end 2004 retail market report. Lured by consistent growth in population, employment and overall market “cache”, retailers both existing and new to the market, continue to acquire sites. Average retail rental rates climbed mildly from $14.22 per square foot to $14.43 per square foot, while pass through expenses remained stable at $3.91 per square foot. Regarding pass through expenses, retailers and landlords are bracing for the potential effects of the Charleston County property re-assessment that could have a substantial effect on taxes for year 2005.
The Peninsula Charleston submarket, specifically King Street, continues to be the heartbeat of Charleston’s upscale retail experience. Upper King Street, which until recently was considered a blighted area not on the radar screen of credit retailers, has experienced a renaissance based on growth in the hospitality, fashion and design sectors. National retailers such as Waterworks and California Closets now do business alongside eclectic restaurants such as Basil and Chai. On King Street, south of Calhoun Street, considered by many in the industry be the premier destination of southeastern boutique retail, the opening of Urban Outfitters in the former Garden Theater in time for the Christmas season will further enhance King Street’s ability to attract a top tier lineup.
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