Cost of retail space in Central Pennsylvania continues to climb despite negative absorption and rising vacancy.
If you’ve been paying attention you know that traditional retail space is undergoing a major shift in how and where it’s being used. Many stores have closed their doors and/or have embraced the growth of ecommerce over brick-and-mortar locations.
In Central Pennsylvania, we’re seeing quite a few interesting trends that indicate more change is yet to come. Net absorption plummets further into the negative with just 3 new buildings delivered this quarter. A total of 17 new buildings are under construction which begs the question of how the market will respond when 423,994 square-feet of new space is delivered in the coming months. Though vacancy rate is on the rise, so is the quoted rental rate.
How do these trends tie together and what do they tell us about the future of retail real estate in Central Pennsylvania? Let’s take a closer look.
SELECT TOP UNDER CONSTRUCTION PROPERTIES
Coming in at number five on CoStar’s list of Select Top Under Construction Properties is the Gateway Hanover Shopping Center on Wilson Avenue in Hanover. The 136,193 square-foot Target is expected to be completed in Q3 2017. Number seven on the list is the Crossings at Conestoga Creek in Lancaster. This mixed-use project, anchored by Wegmans, will deliver 90,000 square-feet of unleased retail space in Q4 2018. Coming in at number 14 on the list is the Shoppes on South Queen located at 1701 S. Queen Street in York. The 55,000 square-feet of space, which will be delivered in Q4 2017, is 53% preleased.
SELECT TOP LEASES
Among CoStar’s list of Select Top Leases for Q2, one Central Pennsylvania lease made it to the top 10. Red Rose Commons in Lancaster County leased 43,091 square-feet of retail space to Burlington Coat Factory.
Net absorption, which was already in the red from Q1, fell even lower this quarter to negative 268,916 square-feet. This is the greatest square footage of space to be negatively absorbed in any one quarter since Q3 2013. It is also only the fourth time the market has experienced a negative net absorption in four years. Three new retail buildings were delivered this quarter totaling just 43,825 square-feet; however, 17 additional building are under construction with a total of 423,994 square-feet of new space that will be dumped into the market in the coming months.
VACANCY & RENTAL RATES
Vacancy rates raised ever so slightly this quarter, from 4.0% to 4.4%. Even with a negative net absorption and increasing vacancy rates, the quoted rental rate rose in Q2 from $13.10 to $13.58 per square foot. This is a recent record high for vacancy rates that have been almost consistently decreasing since 2013.
What we can learn from the market’s performance in Q2 is that, while retail space nationwide has taken a major blow over the last few years, it’s still in demand. The shift toward ecommerce has changed the landscape of retail real estate, but it has not made it completely irrelevant. New buildings are under construction, retailers are moving into new space and the rising cost per square foot demonstrates the demand exists.
Over the coming months and years, it will be important to watch how retailers strategically place their brick-and-mortar locations and how they rebuild their business model to harness the popularity of ecommerce. The business that will thrive in this new landscape will be ones who embrace change and listen to consumer demand.
What trend in Central Pennsylvania’s retail market do you think will have the largest impact? Share your insight and join in the conversation by leaving a comment below!
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