Good news for the Huntsville area. It seems that the vacancy rate for retail spaces continues to fall, which means more businesses are moving into previously empty spaces.
Al.com reports that this is the second straight year the vacancy rate has improved. Last year’s rate was at 10.8 percent.
It seems that the lower vacancy rates are due to more construction and some backfilling of already existing space. One expert says that retail seems to be recovering faster than office and industrial, although the vacancy rate for office space has also fallen slightly from last year.
The story lists some of the new retail space:
Big Lots moved into the former Comp USA location in Westside Center on University Drive
Star Super Market opened on Bailey Cove Road in Huntsville in a former Southern Family Markets location
Earth Fare opened in the former Circuit City space on University Drive
Powerhouse Fitness also moved in nearby
Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts Store will hold a grand opening Feb. 24-26… moving into a former Linens ‘n Things store.
Simply Fashions and Jimmy Jazz are scheduled to open in the first quarter in two vacancies at Madison Square Mall
At Parkway Place, a national children’s’ apparel retailer and Complete Nutrition are also moving in during the first quarter
Soma, a women’s intimate apparel store, opens around March in Bridge Street Town Centre, in the former sport shop
The story says there’s more than 11.8 million square feet of retail space in Huntsville, Madison and Harvest, and about 1.28 million of that is vacant.
So why is this such good news? Well, obviously, all aspects of the economy work together — office, retail, industrial, residential, etc. When there are more retailers, offices and homes tend to move in, and where there are offices and homes, retailers like to be. (It’s the proverbial chicken-and-egg question — who comes first, the retailers, or office space and residences?)
And, of course, more good news lies in the increased tax and sales revenue for the area. If people are here to shop, they might stick around for something to eat, or otherwise visit the city. The economic boost is always a good thing.
Here’s hoping that Huntsville’s vacancy rates continue to drop, and that the people benefit from the additional businesses.