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Retail space in city stable

Survey notes positive signs as vacancy rates stay same

A Fort Wayne commercial real estate firm says retail vacancy rates remain flat.

The Zacher Co. annual market survey Tuesday praised the pending Costco Wholesale store on the city’s north side, as well as the recent opening of Kroger Marketplace at the Village at Coventry in the southwest area.

President Steve Zacher said the northwest side had the lowest vacancy rate at 9.7 percent, while the southeast area had the highest rate at 28 percent. Zacher said the northeast rate of 22 percent is substantial because it has more square footage – 6.3 million, compared with 1.1 million for the southeast retail corridor.

“That’s worth noting,” he said.

The vacancy rate in the southwest was 10.7 percent.

Even though Costco isn’t a factor in this year’s survey, Zacher said if Costco Wholesale Corp. proceeds with its plans at the northwest corner of Lima and Progress roads it would represent a major development.

The Fort Wayne Plan Commission approved the up to $30 million retail warehouse in September. The membership-only store has a purchase agreement with Menard Inc. for a 15-acre site at the northwest corner of Lima and Progress roads.

Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco wants to build a 150,000-square-foot store at the former Seyfert Foods Inc. plant site that Menard owns. The development would create 200 jobs.

The survey found landlords have gotten “creative” in finding uses for vacant spaces. One example is the former Kroger at East State Boulevard and Spy Run Avenue being converted into a self-storage facility.

The survey forecast that retail leasing will be limited to the most popular shopping centers and attractive high traffic and visibility areas.

The annual study examines the northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast sections of the city. Zacher and its affiliate, CORFAC International, calculate the vacancy square footage using data compiled from multiple online listing services and brokers’ listing information from their websites and mailings.

At a glance

Here’s a look at ZIP codes included in a retail space survey:
Northwest area: 46818 and 46808
Northeast: 46805, 46815, 46825, 46835 and 46845
Southwest: 46804 and 46814
Southeast: 46803, 46806, 46807, 46816 and 46819
Source: The Zacher Co.

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