RETAIL VACANCY RATE IMPROVES IN NORTH, CENTRAL JERSEY
By Joan Verdon/The Record
September 26, 2011
The retail vacancy rate in North and Central New Jersey improved slightly in July, coming in at 8.06 percent, the lowest rate since January, 2009, according to a new report from Paramus-based commercial real estate brokerage The Goldstein Group.
Chuck Lanyard, president of The Goldstein Group, said that while retail vacancy rates are likely to remain high due to the sluggish economy, “we are seeing some positive signs and an increase in activity” in leasing.
The firm, he said, also is seeing new retailers come into the New Jersey market for the first time. Included among those, Lanyard said, are Pet Supplies Plus, Hobby Lobby, Carsmetics, and Dr. Dental. New restaurant chains moving into the state include Brick House Tavern, which leased a location in South Plainfield, and Panchero’s Mexican Grill, which is building in Paramus and is looking for other locations.
The Goldstein Group’s survey of retail vacancies, which it conducts twice a year, in January and July, found 7.8 million square feet of empty space among 96.8 million square feet of retail space on 22 retail highways stretching from Mahwah to Tom’s River. The survey does not include vacancies in enclosed malls.
Vacancy rates along Routes 4 and 17 in Paramus rose slightly, but Lanyard said those results are probably a temporary blip reflecting a few properties that were in transition. “Paramus on a whole really is doing very well because it is such an important market,” he said, noting the recent openings of the REI outdoor store on Route 4 and the Jo-Ann Fabrics store just off Route 17.
According to the survey, the retail corridors with the lowest vacancy rates in July were Route 17 in Ramsey and Mahwah; Route 3 in Clifton, and Route 23 in Wayne and Butler. Route 46 in Totowa and Fairfield had one of the highest rates, at 11.3 percent.
Lanyard said that while he is seeing a lot of interest in properties from retailers and restaurants, “people are still really nervous about where the economy’s going.”
New Jersey, however, Lanyard said, still has a lower retail vacancy rate than much of the country, where rates have soared to 15 percent – and as high as 20 percent in some states. New Jersey is the 11th most populated state in the nation, the most densely populated, and second wealthiest, statistics that make retailers eager to open stores here, Lanyard said.