What area is your expertise?
• Columbia, S.C.
What trends do you see presently in retail development in your area?
• Currently, there are several active types of development:
- Wal-Mart and Target anchored community centers ranging from 200,000 to 300,000 square feet
- Unanchored retail strips from 6,000 to 20,000 square feet
- Auto dealerships relocated from in town to suburban locations
- Additional home improvement locations
- Bank locations
- Fast food locations
What type of retail product is doing well in your area?
• All retail seems to be quite strong at this point
Who are the active retail developers in your area?
• Active retail developers are Fletcher Bright, WRS, Edens & Avant, Kahn Development, and Owen Development.
Please name one or two significant retail developments in your area. What impact will these projects have on the market?
• Village at Sandhill is a 1 million-square-foot lifestyle center in Northeast Richland County. It is being developed by Kahn Development of Columbia. This project has introduced the lifestyle center to the region and created a retail anchor in Columbia’s fastest growing suburb.
• The Shoppes at White Knoll is a 250,000 square foot development that was recently completed in the Redbank submarket. WRS of Aiken developed it. It is significant because it has created an anchor for a new retail submarket.
Where is the majority of development taking place? Why is this area doing well?
• The majority of development is taking place in the Northeast Richland submarket. This is primarily because it is the fastest growing residential area in the region with 35 percent of all new homes constructed nearby.
What area do you expect to be the next big retail development market? Why?
• The next big retail market will be the Lower Richland market along Garners Ferry Road. This area is supported by moderate residential development. More importantly, this area fills a niche created by the decline of the Columbia Place/Decker Boulevard retail area.
Please describe the retail leasing activity in your area.
• Retail leasing in the area is very active and has been so for the last six months.
Please give a measure of retail vacancy rates and a measure of available sublease space.
• Overall vacancy (excluding regional malls) was 8.3 percent market wide at the end of 2007. The strongest major submarkets were Irmo/Harbison (5.4 percent), Lexington (2.8 percent) and Northeast Richland (8.2 percent).
What types of retailers should look into your market in the coming year? What type of retail is needed?
• Many national restaurant chains have not entered the market but would do well here. Additionally, Costco and BJ’s are absent in the market.
— Submitted by Ron Anderson, VP of Research and Technology, NAI Avant LLC in Columbia, S.C.