On the Road to Becoming a Retail Destination

Key Takeaways

  • Overall market vacancy rate is trending downwards.  Average asking rental rates for anchor and junior anchor space increased, but average asking rental rates for shop space declined slightly.
  • New development and redevelopments are gaining momentum along desirable retail corridors.
  • Growth continues for Downtown Columbia’s Congaree Vista.
  • New retailers enter the market.

Current Conditions

Announcements of new retailers, restaurants, hotels, and residential developments in Columbia, SC flooded headlines throughout 2014.  The significant year ended with an overall vacancy rate of 8.0% for the Columbia, SC retail market, down from the third quarter 2014 vacancy rate of 8.4% and year-end 2013 rate of 8.8%.  The vacancy rate is on a downward trend as a result of retailers expanding their footprints, and new retailers and fitness centers backfilling vacant big box space.  Much of the absorbed space has been of higher quality retail space along prime retail corridors with high traffic counts and visibility.  The resulting available shop space yielded an average asking rental rate of $12.81 NNN at year-end 2014, slightly lower than $13.01 NNN at the end of the third quarter of 2014.  Asking rental rates for shop space are expected to increase as on new developments complete construction and deliver new supply to the market.  Average asking rental rates for anchor and junior anchor space were up to $7.45 NNN and $9.16 NNN, respectively, at year-end 2014 from the third quarter 2014 averages of $7.39 NNN and $7.53 NNN, respectively. 

The Forest Acres, Harbison/St. Andrews, and Northeast Columbia submarkets are home to the most popular and dense retail corridors in the suburban submarkets.  The submarkets hold consistently low vacancy rates and continued to improve, ending 2014 with vacancy rates of 0.4%, 7.5% and 7.9%, respectively, all declining from year-end 2013.  The corridors have been entry points for new retailers to the market.  J. Crew and Anthropologie opened their first Columbia locations at Trenholm Plaza along Forest Drive backfilling space that was vacated by Books-a-Million.  Nordstrom Rack opened its first Columbia location along Harbison Boulevard backfilling a former Barnes and Noble space.

Download pdf

Download the full report

For more information, including the market summary statistics, download the full research report.

Download report