The retail market in Columbia, South Carolina continued to perform well over the course of 2006. Several announcements were made that will significantly impact the retail market during 2007. Wal-Mart started development work on four new locations which will greatly increase retail traffic on Killian Road, Bush River Road, in the Red Bank area of Lexington and in Batesburg-Leesville. A fifth location has been announced in the Peak area, but remains subject to local approval.
These developments will begin to reshape what is already a very healthy and stable retail market. Total market occupancy finished 2006 at 90.66%. This is a slight decrease from the 91.01% occupancy posted twelve months earlier at year-end 2005, largely due to new product that is yet to be occupied. Even with a decrease in total occupancy, the retail market absorbed 290,934 square feet in 2006.
Employment in the retail sector continued to expand over 2006. From December 2005 to December 2006, employment in retail trade increased by 1.20%, wholesale trade increased by 2.50%, and food and beverage stores experienced an increase of 9.10% in total employment.
Over the next three to five years, we can expect Columbia’s retail nodes to stretch significantly. In Lexington, the market will grow eastward. While topography issues will be the main challenges developers face, commercial activity at the Highway 378/I-20 interchange will add to the momentum caused by the new Target Center.
In the Northeast, a new retail node may develop around the Killian Road/I-77 interchange. While several developments are already on the drawing board for this area, the progression of retailers will likely begin with grocery anchored centers and be followed by big box retailers.
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