Monday, March 23, 2009

Commercial Real Estate in Charlottesville: For Sale, For Lease Signs Spring Up Like Daffodils

The DP is reporting on what anybody who has walked the Downtown Mall lately, or taken a drive up 29N, has noticed: "For Lease," "For Sale," and "Available," signs are everywhere.

Sunday's story is entitled "Agents Note Bargains as Property Market Slows."

What the story doesn't mention is current numbers from the MLS:
  • 155 commercial properties available for sale, from $6.5 Million down, large buildings to small office spaces.
  • 248 commercial properties available for lease, everything from small stores to massive warehouses.
The properties for sale in the City include:
  • 111 East Main Street on the Downtown Mall, $2,950,000. Current home to Blue Whale Books, some other store fronts, and 12 apartments.
  • 901 E. Market Street, $1,600,000. The Gas Station/C store/Cafe formerly known as Fuel, owned by the Patricia Kluge holdings.
  • Various condos/office spaces at 250 West Main, the "Lewis and Clark" building across from the statue and near the Federal Courthouse.
Additionally, there's lease or purchase availability at, among other places, these locations:
  • Retail/Office on Timberwood Parkway in the Hollymead area
  • Site at Old Trail in Crozet
  • Office/retail space in Berkmar Crossing behind Shopper's World
  • Doctor's offices at Sachem Place (out Hydraulic Road; close for both City and County)
  • Peter Jefferson Parkway (home to new MJH digs)
  • The DP building
In the The DP, Ivo Romenesko, President of the Appraisal Group, Inc., says that six months ago, the local vacancy rate was roughly 8 percent. He expects that figure will climb into the double digits.

Did we see an "office space" sign in the building that contains the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association? There are signs at Barracks Road, Seminole Square, Albemarle Square, on the Corner, Downtown, Rivanna Ridge--you can't go a mile without seeing RE signs or plate glass windows covered in paper.

The DP always gives a positive spin to its stories about the slow RE market. Perhaps because it relies on so many print ads from real estate agencies for revenue? One RE professional has an optimistic hope of a market turn by the end of 2009; there's no local or national data to support this.

And of course there are quotes saying it's a great time to renegotiate a lease--which actually may be true. And that it could be a great time to buy if somebody can get their hands on financing--which could also be true.

In The DP article there's a suggestion that the incoming employees of NGIC will give the area a boost. The influx will impact in 2010 or 2011, if struggling businesses can wait that long....

Read Brian McNeill's story here.


craigger said...

Commercial real estate is still overpriced. If someone can lay out the economics of how you get a positive spread on interest costs for the properties listed, I would be impressed. 111 w. main doesn't have windows for half of the apartments, and one of the two retail tenants is vacating. Also, retail rental rates are plummeting (-30% or more) because of rising vacancies.

Ich Bin said...

"Fuel" is supposedly waiting for the "right" tenant to take over the location. Does that mean "any" tenant?