Recycling Retail Space

Key Takeaways

  • Columbia, SC draws national retailers’ attention.  Anthropologie and J. Crew announce plans to enter the market.
  • Activity is on the rise despite flat vacancy rates.  
  • Planned student housing developments in Downtown Columbia have the potential to support more retailers. 

Current Conditions

The second quarter of 2014 ended with a vacancy rate of 8.37%, slightly higher than the first quarter 2014 vacancy rate of 8.28%.  The small, yet negative, net absorption was the result of Piggly Wiggly closing its Northeast Columbia location and does not accurately depict market conditions.  The market continues to excel and attract new national retailers to the area.  

The most recent announcements came from national retailers, Anthropologie and J. Crew, which will be occupying space recently vacated by Books-A-Million at Trenholm Plaza in the Forest Acres submarket.  The closure is one of three bookstores to close in Columbia throughout the past year due to heightened competition from e-books and online retailers, such as Amazon.  The vacated space paved the way for new retailers to enter the market, recycling retail space before having an adverse effect on vacancy rates.     

  • Nordstrom Rack will occupy the former Barnes & Noble space in Harbison Court along Harbison Boulevard.
  • 2nd & Charles, a used- book retailer, occupied the former Books-A-Million space along Harbison Boulevard.

With several student housing and residential developments planned for Downtown Columbia, the residential population may increase by 3,000 in the next three to five years.  As The Hub welcomes residents for the Fall 2014 semester, the population is already growing and has the potential to support new retailers in Downtown Columbia and surrounding submarkets.  Restaurants, grocers and clothing boutiques will be in high demand as residents look for ways to dine, entertain and shop.  The Hub offers retail space for lease on the first floor and basement of the building.

  • Responding to the need for more grocers, Kroger is likely to anchor the Capital City Stadium redevelopment Downtown.  Atlanta-based Bright-Meyers expects to begin the new project in early spring 2015.  
  • Bourbon, a Cajun-influenced restaurant and bourbon-based cocktail bar, recently opened along Main Street.
  • Pitas Mediterranean restaurant recently announced plans to open its second Columbia location in the Bank of America Plaza, 1901 Main Street, providing another food option for Main Street visitors and residents.

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