Retail vacancies in the Columbia area remain at historic lows while rents for available spaces have risen because there is little new retail construction in the works, according to a recent market report from Colliers South Carolina.
The vacancy rate for retail in the Midlands in the fourth quarter of 2022 was 3.49% with a net absorption rate of 33,900 square feet, according to the report. This marked a decrease from a 4.6% vacancy rate in the fourth quarter of 2021. No new retail space was listed under construction in the market in the fourth quarter, while average rents for space rose to $21.10 per square foot, the report said.
The total amount of retail inventory available in the Columbia market remained steady at 13.4 million square feet, the report stated.
“Headlines have been filled in recent years with stories announcing the ‘demise of retail’ – in reality, vacancies have declined to the lowest levels in decades and rents have risen,” the report stated. “In some cases, landlords have been anxious to get junior anchor and anchor spaces back to be able to lease to tenants who are expanding and who can pay higher rental rates.”
Recent announcements of store closings by national retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond and Tuesday Morning will be an advantage for new tenants seeking large retail space, according to the report. The average store being closed by the new retailers is between 20,000 and 30,000 square feet and is in a desirable retail corridor, and Colliers predicts the spaces are likely to attract tenants like Five Below, Pop Shelf, Painted Tree Boutique and Burlington.
In the Midlands, one Tuesday Morning store in Harbison and two Bed Bath & Beyond locations closed in recent months.
Recent significant retail transactions in the greater Columbia area include leases of 2,100 square feet of space at 201 Harbison Blvd; 3,800 square feet at 807 Gervais St. in the Vista; 3,800 square feet at 4701 Forest Drive and 1,900 square feet at 4609 Forest Drive. Recent sales include the 83,100-square-foot The Forum II shopping center at the Village at Sandhill for $11.7 million, and 4,900 square feet of space at 294 Harbison Blvd. for $3.4 million.