The Columbia, South Carolina retail market continued to perform very well during the first half of 2003 as the market expanded despite a struggling economy. The Colliers Keenan Retail Market Review surveys all the neighborhood shopping centers, which totals 9,064,926 square feet in the Columbia, South Carolina MSA. The survey indicates that occupancy has increased from 88.4% at year-end 2002 to 89.5% as of June 30, 2003. The sub-market experiencing the largest increase in occupancy is the Cayce / West Columbia area which increased from 75.9% at year-end 2002 to 82.5% at mid-year 2003.
The average rental rate for “in line” retail space in the Columbia area increased $0.19 per square foot to $11.23 per square foot during the first half of 2003. The average cost for pro-rated real estate taxes, property insurance and common area maintenance pass-through expenses for tenants increased dramatically by 15% during the first half of 2003 to $2.22 per square foot. Property taxes accounted for the majority of the increase in average pass-through expenses for the properties surveyed.
Columbia’s enclosed malls also continued to perform well in terms of occupancy rates increasing from 90.6% at year-end 2002 to 91.4% at mid-year 2003. However, a major impact is the departure of one anchor tenant at Richland Mall. The average rental rate for enclosed malls has remained unchanged during the first half of 2003 averaging $23.60 per square foot. Pro-rated pass-through expenses for tenants remained at $12.80 per square foot. Average sales per square foot remain very strong at Columbia area enclosed malls increasing from $280.00 per square foot at year-end 2002 to $287.50 per square foot as of June 30, 2003.
The Colliers Keenan Retail Market Review indicates Columbia’s retail market will continue to strengthen during the remainder of 2003. Vacant “in line” retail spaces are being leased to national, regional and noticeably many more local tenants. New, local, startup businesses account for much of the growth in the market thus far during 2003. Larger national retail tenants are also expanding rapidly in the Columbia area by carefully positioning themselves in the growth corridors of Columbia. The primary retail nodes of Lexington, Harbison / St. Andrews and Northeast Columbia will continue to be target markets for many new retail tenants. Available land in these growth corridors will challenge many developers and retailers to look carefully at all available opportunities. Other sub-markets will continue to perform well with the exception of portions of the Northeast market which is struggling to retain retail tenants as the market shifts to the rapidly developing Two Notch Road and Clemson Road area.
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