The Columbia, South Carolina retail market continued to experience excellent growth during the first half of 1999. Columbia has several distinct and thriving retail corridors in multiple markets throughout the metropolitan area. Therefore, retailers are positioning more than one store within Columbia. The Columbia retail market is divided into eight distinctive submarkets: Harbison/St. Andrews, Lexington, Cayce/West Columbia, North Columbia, Downtown/Devine Street, Southeast Columbia, Forest Acres and Northeast Columbia. These submarkets will be discussed in further detail in the Market Spotlight section of this report.
The Colliers Keenan Retail Market Review encompasses anchored strip shopping centers in the Columbia, MSA. Anchored strip shopping centers contain 8,354,000 square feet and are 90.6% occupied as of June 30, 1999. The average rental rate for "in-line" retail space in the Columbia area is $10.28 per square foot, inclusive of the various grades of quality and in-line space. The average cost for prorated real estate taxes, insurance and common area maintenance pass
through expenses for the Columbia area is $1.60 per square foot.
The outstanding performance of the strip centers in each submarket is demonstrated by the high occupancy rate. Occupancy in the Forest Acres market is close to 100%. Average rental rates in Forest Acres are $12.75 per square foot. The Lexington area maintains the second strongest market with an occupancy of 93.1 % and average rental rates of $10.89 per square foot.
Columbia's regional malls also provide a basis for determining the strength of the market. Four regional malls totaling 3,533,771 square feet, have an overall occupancy rate of 85.0% with an average rental rate of $28.00 per square foot. The average common area charges for regional malls, inclusive of all pass through expenses, is $8.27 per square foot. Columbiana Center has the highest occupancy at 99.4% with an average rental rate of $31.00 per square foot and common area expenses of $9.29 per square foot.
Although leasing activity is robust in all market areas of Columbia, rental rates remain constant during 1999, with the exception of the Harbison Boulevard· area which continues to experience sharp rental escalations. New construction is occurring primarily in the high growth areas of Lexington County and Northeast Richland County.
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