Retail Market Overview

The retail market in Columbia, South Carolina continued to expand over the first half of 2005. With the first phase of the Village at Sandhill coming online and the expansion of East Forest Plaza Shopping Center, the retail market increased by over 400,000 square feet. Not only did this robust market absorb virtually all new construction, but it also absorbed 95,000 square feet of vacant space for a total absorption of nearly 500,000 square feet. The total occupancy of the Columbia retail market at mid-year 2005 was 92.55%.

As demand for retail space increased over the first six months of 2005, so did rental rates, climbing to an average of $12.39 per square foot. This was up from $12.14 per square foot at year-end 2004.

The retail market is just over 9.8 million square feet, with an additional 400,000 square feet under construction in the second phase of the Village at Sandhill. This lifestyle center is the first of its kind in the Columbia market and is quickly drawing national brands into Northeast Columbia. Scheduled to open in fall 2005, the second phase includes one of the first freestanding JC Penney stores in the country.

Also drawing attention is Columbia’s Central Business District. The recent completion of the Publix Grocery Store in the State Dispensary Building and its overwhelming success is bringing new light to retail within the urban core. Also, the redevelopment of the Market Place Shopping Center on Harden Street, with a current occupancy rate of 100%, and the addition of Office Depot is giving rise to an ongoing rejuvenation of retail in Five Points and along Devine Street.

Columbia’s four enclosed malls remained strong over the first half of 2005, with occupancy rates and rental rates improving slightly. Occupancy rates at mid-year 2005 increased to 94.27% from 93.80% at year-end 2004. Rental rates increased from $24.51 to $28.28 per square foot at mid-year 2005.

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