What’s stabilizing retail real estate in the age of Amazon.com, disruptions


By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

The regional retail vacancy rate is down from last year coming in at 8.1 percent, according to second quarter data from CBRE.

That compares 8.4 percent a year ago.

The decrease might be a surprise considering the continued upheavals in the retail segment where Amazon.com and e-commerce have challenged traditional retailers and department stores such as Macy’s.

So, what is stabilizing retail real estate?

Fitness centers continue to fill retail space helping vacancy rates and foot traffic at shopping centers.

Fitness centers have leased up 33 former big box stores totaling more than 1 million square feet since 2016, according to CBRE.

The trend continued in the second quarter. The three biggest real estate deals during the quarter were all fitness related with Protégé Boxing locating in Mesa, L.A. Fitness in Surprise and the San Tan Valley.

Lifetime Fitness is also building a new center in the Biltmore area.

All that has helped ease stress on shopping centers.

Scottsdale remains the most expensive retail submarket in the area with average asking rents of $34.43 per foot.

Apache Junction, which is seeing growth with restaurants and retailers, is surprisingly the second most expensive retail submarket with average rents of $23.80 per foot, according to CBRE.

The average asking retail in metro Phoenix is $16.80.

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