The outlook looks strong, though maybe not very strong, for Richmond’s commercial real estate market.
That was the general consensus from the panel at Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate’s 2016 Market Review event Tuesday evening.
Held at the Westin on West Broad Street, the annual event was a record-breaker for GRACRE this year with more than 300 attendees. The panel consisted of local real estate experts, including Chad Joyce of Ryan Homes; Brett McNamee of Divaris Real Estate; Eric Robison of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer; Charlie Polk of JLL; and Matt Anderson of CBRE | Richmond.
On a scale of “very strong” to “poor,” most panelists went with “strong” when asked to gauge the prospects of the local market.
“Things are good,” Polk said. “Compared to some other markets, they could be better.”
Discussing everything from the sudden influx of grocery stores to mall redevelopment to the future of downtown office space, the members of the panel said that, though there may be some downsides, the general outlook looks good.
While suburban office space might be filling up, huge vacancies downtown might push rental rates down. Meanwhile, rates in up-and-coming neighborhoods like Scott’s Addition and Manchester are sky-high, with employers seeking creative new office space. And that’s where the retail is likely to go, McNamee said.
On the retail side, large grocery store mergers might cause some empty grocery spaces – such as a proposed deal between Martin’s and Food Lion. But at least two other grocers are circling the Richmond market, McNamee said. Those could join new competitors Wegmans, which is set to open two stores in the area this year, and Publix, which announced last week it would open a store in Glen Allen.