Livermore’s Retail Market Shows Mixed Signals
The fourth quarter marked another period of positive absorption, albeit minimal. Despite a few new leases signed, there seems to be little to no activity for space over three thousand square feet. The lack of any large retailers having interest, despite discounted lease rates is concerning. Livermore has yet to gain the momentum that our neighboring cities have. In spite of this, Livermore continues to slowly chug along.
Is this stale pattern going to continue? The optimistic side of me says no. Developers are back out in the market, drawing plans, and pushing forward with stalled projects. The Prime Outlet was supposed to break ground April of last year. The 550,000 square foot high-end outlet center is once again scheduled for an April ground breaking. The city of Livermore began looking for a developer for the high density residential project to accompany the Regional Theater project. As for the 2,000-seat performing arts theater, financing options have come available and the group behind the project is proactively looking for donors.
As predicted, the fourth quarter vacancy rates did show slight improvement. That said, there are no hard indicators pointing towards an upswing of activity in the near future. In order to capture the retailers to back-fill the large spaces left open (i.e. the former Mervyn’s, PW Market, and Prestige Furniture) and to push continued development (i.e. Groth Bros. site), Livermore will need to attract additional large employers. Without local jobs and local consumers spending money at the local level, the confidence for larger retailers to open shop will not exist. I remain optimistic, the summer of 2011 could be the turning point. Perhaps the construction scheduled to begin early this year will cause a domino effect in retail development and leasing.
Read and download the complete 4th Quarter Market Report below: