Reno's Retail Real Estate Turnaround - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Reno's Retail Real Estate Turnaround

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Commercial real estate agent Kelly Bland with NAI Alliance recalls just how bad things were, when entire shopping centers in Reno were concrete ghost towns. As he remembers, "It was a rough time frame. It was tough making any deals during 2010 and 2011."

Stores were there one day, gone the next. Katie Knapp remembers it well...she opened her first business, "Bumblebee Blooms Flower Boutique", downtown in 2011. She told us it was "a rough year. In fact I was told I'd never get a loan."

But a look at the numbers today shows a retail real estate rebound is finally starting to happen. Retail vacancy rates in Reno-Sparks have steadily fallen, from 23.3% a year and a half ago, to 17.4%. And there's a pickup in the biggest buildings, from a 15.8% vacancy to 13.8%:

RETAIL VACANCY RATES (NAI ALLIANCE MARKET REPORTS):

2012 2ND QUARTER::

RENO-SPARKS: 23.3%

BUILDINGS +20,000 SQ.FT.: 15.8%

 

2013 4TH QUARTER:

RENO-SPARKS: 17.4%

BUILDINGS +20,000 SQ. FT.: 13.8%

One of those big buildings is the former Safeway just off Virginia at Kietzke. Empty for 3 years, a new "Floor And Décor" is scheduled to open there in April. Kelly Bland gave us a tour inside. As he told us, "This former Safeway is in the heart of the retail area next to Meadowood Mall. Another anchor building is going to be occupied as well…the former Borders store across the street is one of them that's going to be filled."

For those outside looking in, Kelly says the slow improvement means there are still good lease values in town, down to a dollar a square foot.

Things have even improved to the point where the very common "for lease" sign now can actually mean some good news now. After 2 and a half years at her downtown location, store owner Katie Knapp is leaving, for a bigger space. As she told us, "Business is doing so well, that we're moving from 900 square feet to 2,600 square feet."

That's just about 3 times the square footage. And her current space for "Bumblebee Blooms Flower Boutique" is already getting some interest too: "I've had a couple of people come in and ask me about it. Nothing firmed up but we've had a bunch of people ask."

There is still a ways to go…it's not hard to find the ubiquitous "for lease" signs. But after the leanest of times, things are finally beginning to grow again…just like the flowers in Katie's shop.

-written by John Potter

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