The Jacksonville retail real estate market had a good overall 2015 with decreases in vacancy, increases in new construction and large blocks of space being filled. This year looks to be shaping up to be as strong, according to a regional managing partner with Franklin Street.
Despite positive indicators, there have been several worrying announcements — Sports Authority, Macey’s Hancock Fabric closing stores, said Carrie Smith, regional managing partner for Franklin Street. The more positive movement has been the aggressive activity by major grocers in the area.
Smith isn’t predicting the emergence of a national chain into the Jacksonville market in the next 12 to 18 months, but she expects the current players in town to continue expansion efforts.
In Jacksonville, the vacancy rate for retail space started 2015 at 7.1 percent and fell by the end of the year to 6.7 percent even as new construction pushed up inventory, according to CoStar reports.
Smith said that CoStar reported a 1.5 percent decrease in asking price to about $13 a square foot, which could be attributed to several large box, anchor tenants signing leases for large blocks of space as their deals are usually in the in the single digits per square foot.
However, deals at some of the new construction in the higher-end retail centers have reached pre-recession levels, Smith said, with asking rents in the $35 to $40 per square-foot range.
Over the next 12 months, Smith expects asking rates to continue to increase as more retailers compete to fill limited vacancy’s.
“I see good things for Jacksonville,” she said.