Columbia Industrial Market Making a Comeback

Market Survey

2004 proved to be a “comeback” year for the Columbia area industrial marketplace. Following two years of plant closings and job losses, the Midlands area experienced a very positive year in 2004, resulting in a positive 1,262,000 square feet of industrial space being absorbed.

As a result, vacancies ended the year at 10.48%, a decrease of 4.1% from year-end 2003. One significant stabilizing factor during 2004 was the fact that there was limited new industrial construction or development activity during the year. Only one large speculative facility, the 176,400 square foot Carolina Pines II building, was brought onto the marketplace, with 100,800 square feet of that building being quickly occupied by Shakespeare Corp.

Significant contributors to the year’s 1.26 million square feet positive absorption were two manufacturers, Pella Windows and Dana Chassis, which collectively occupy in excess of 500,000 square feet of formerly vacant space. Most notably, Pella Windows purchased and occupied the former 263,300 square foot Pirelli manufacturing facility, located in CAE Industrial Park, which had been constructed by Pirelli only a few years earlier. Other significant activity included the State of South Carolina’s acquisition of the former 163,700 square foot Hydra Sport Boat plant on Shop Road in Columbia and Wal-Mart’s use for warehousing of the previously vacant Sam’s Club facility on Sunset Boulevard, also in Columbia.

As a result, largely from the transactions cited herein, the South Columbia and Cayce/West Columbia collectively were the region’s most active submarkets and accounted for 843,000 square feet of this year’s positive absorption.

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