The Columbus retail market continues to bounce back from a rough start to 2017, posting 127,147 square feet of positive net absorption – the second consecutive quarter of growth. Fully leased strip centers, new deliveries, and no store closings were key factors to the positive growth. The vacancy rate decreased from the previous quarter, making the overall rate 6.9 percent. Another quarter of strong leasing activity pushed vacancy down and
stirred competition in the market to raise asking rates. Overall rental rates increased by $0.13 to $11.34 per square foot. Neighborhood centers saw the greatest increase from $10.95 to $11.32. The retail market anticipates a complete rebound from the slow start of the year because consumer spending remains strong, with e-commerce leading the way growing at 14 percent. Although the way consumers purchase goods is transforming from brick-andmortar
to online, economists predict continued growth for the retail sector. In order to compete, it is crucial that retailers maximize output in the correct manner and continue to strive on innovation. New presidential policies that stimulate job growth and opportunity create an optimistic population that will continue to spend money on retail goods according to Kiplinger’s Forecast.

VACANCY >>
The overall vacancy rate stands at 6.9 percent– a decrease of 40 basis points from the previous quarter. The Southeast submarket, which includes Grove City, Obetz and the southeastern side of Columbus, experienced the largest decrease in vacancy from 18.18 percent to 15.4 percent. The Northeast submarket recorded an increase
in activity, causing vacancy to decrease to 4.73 percent.

NET ABSORPTION >>
The Columbus retail market recorded 127,147 square feet of positive net absorption at the close of the third quarter. Although absorption is slightly lower than the previous quarter, positive absorption is still a strong indicator the market is strengthening. Leasing activity increased by 7 percent compared to the same quarter
of last year. The Southeast submarket posted the largest occupancy gains with 151,664 square feet absorbed – a complete turnaround from the negative 241,000 square feet last quarter.

CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY >>
Columbus currently has 795,531 square feet of construction in the pipeline for the retail market. The Northeast submarket leads the way with 265,640 square feet of projects under way, including two 100,000 square foot furniture big box stores around Polaris. The largest project in the pipeline is SouthStar Market Place – an 110,000-square-foot community center at 4320 Alum Creek Drive. Of the 20 construction projects, nine are community and mixed-use projects. The metro city enjoyed 132,435 square feet of completions this quarter. Some of the projects included three different Bridge Park retail buildings totaling 55,050 square feet, Zettler Hardware’s 24,030-sqaure-foot freestanding building at 180 Postage Circle, New Albany’s 36,850-square-foot mixed-use project, and Aldi’s
16,500-square-foot grocery store at 720 W. Waterloo St.

SALES ACTIVITY >>
At the close of the third quarter, nine buildings totaling over 940,000 square feet sold, bringing the total sales volume to $43.3 million. This is a slight decrease from the previous quarter, however strong investment activity is still present. The largest sale this quarter occurred in Lancaster, where River Valley Mall was bought for $ 20.3 million, or an average price per square foot of $27.78. A few other sales that took place include: Texas Roadhouse sold its property at 4155 Parkway Centre Drive for $2.64 million, IHOP sold its property at 5500 Renner Road for $2.9 million, and Starbucks sold its property at 3850 N. High St. for $1.8 million.