Columbia-area retail expected to heat up

The historic Palmetto Compress building is being transformed.
The historic Palmetto Compress building is being transformed.

Falling vacancy rates and flat rental rates for space in the Columbia retail market over the past year are attributable to consistent growth, commercial real estate broker NAI Avant said Thursday.

The Columbia area’s major retail corridors are seeing the greatest demand for space, the brokerage firm said in its second quarter market report.

“We predict continued growth throughout 2015 with significant announcements expected in the central business district, northeast Columbia and the Lexington-Irmo markets in particular,” NAI’s report states.

Harbison, downtown Columbia, the “Golden Triangle” – Forest Acres to Garners Ferry Road inside the I-77 loop – Northeast Columbia and Lexington saw vacancy rates drop by 3.6 percent from a year ago and rental rates have continued to average $11.61 per square foot over the period for the area through the first quarter of 2015, according to the report.

Other report highlights:

Harbison – Has more than 4 million square feet of retail space, a 6 percent vacancy rate and strong demographics. It is the No. 1 area retailers explore when they visit Columbia. Del Taco is scheduled to return to South Carolina with a store on Harbison Boulevard and a new hotel is scheduled for Columbiana Drive near the Carolina Ale House.

Downtown Columbia – Rental rates continue to rise with the continued addition of residential properties, including 612 Whaley, the Palmetto Compress, Pulaski Square, Greene Crossing, 650 Lincoln and Park 7 at Huger and Blossom streets. Many of the new residentials carry street level retail.

Golden Triangle – The area “has become a hot spot for redevelopment.”

Northeast Columbia – Killians Crossing is heating up with an announcement of a Kroger grocery and interest from membership warehouses Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club. Columbia Place Mall has new ownership and likely will be repositioned.

Reach Burris at (803) 771-8398

Twitter: @RoddieBurris