The Midlands’ retail renaissance has been driven by a rebounding economy and the area’s location, which allows it to take advantage of growth in other parts of the state.
The retail market is “busting at the seams,” said Hance Jones, a partner with Columbia’s Carolina Retail Partners. “All of the developers are busy.”
Lenders have loosened up a bit and retailers are more active than they have been in the past few years, Jones said. “It’s kind of primed the pump for lots of showings.”
After a devastating recession that saw many retailers fold and others put expansion plans on hold, growth slowly started to come back. Nationwide and in Columbia, retailers filled in many of the empty buildings that littered the landscape.
“All of those good ones are gone,” Jones said, and retailers are looking to build new stores in growing areas. “We have a little more confidence in the future of the economy.”
Here’s how the Midlands market is morphing: