Big Boxes See New Life.

The Columbia, south Carolina, retail market performed well during the first six months of 2010, absorbing 324,587 square feet of space, which resulted in a decline in market vacancy from 11.66% at year-end 2009 to 9.13% at mid-year 2010. the amount of absorption experienced during this six month period can largely be attributed to a decline in big box vacancy that was created during the most recent economic downturn.

Twelve months prior to mid-year 2010, the market was in the midst of massive closures in big box stores as national retailers such as Circuit City, Linens N’ Things, Goody’s and Sofa Express declared bankruptcy. These vacancies created opportunity for retailers to locate in prime retail corridors at rental rates that were lower than those garnered 12 to 24 months prior. Thus, a repositioning of big box retailers has started in the local market. In the Northeast submarket, Gold’s Gym has located in the former Ashley Home Furniture store in the Village at Sandhill, Best Buy has located in Sparkleberry Square, and Joanne Fabrics has relocated to the former Goody’s space in the Walmart center on Two Notch Road. Additionally, the former Circuit City Store on Harbison Boulevard has been leased to Buy Buy Baby and Big Lots absorbed a portion of the former Food Lion on St. Andrews Road.

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