Spokane Retail Market

by David R. Black, CEO NAI Black

While the retail market in much of the country has taken a black eye, Spokane has faired far better.

Spokane County total sales dropped only 7.7% in the first quarter of 2009, compared to King County which dropped 15.3%. Rents, however, are all over the board and so are vacancy rates.

Most of the retail deals that are getting done are with medical or dental entities and restaurants. Most national retailers scaled back store openings for 2009-2010 and many are attempting to re-negotiate leases at lower rates, while extending their lease term.

A great example of retail prosperity in Spokane is the new North Town Square at the corner of Wellesley and Division, across from North Town Mall. This 71,000 square foot “Lifestyle Center” is anchored by the first Red Lobster in Spokane, a restaurant that is never lacking for patrons. North Town Square also has a Starbucks, Ulta Beauty, DSW shoes, STCU, Bajio Mexican Grill, Honey Baked Hams and Dress Barn.

Another outstanding project is Vandervert’s Village Centre Cinemas in the West Plains. Village Center, opening this month, is a 33,000 square foot, 10-screen theater complex just east of the city of Airway Heights. Vandervert also has plans to build a $7.2 million dollar hotel nearby.

There are areas of Spokane that remain very stable for retail. For example, the South Hill boasts a 1.38% vacancy rate and rents in the $20/SF NNN range for small shops.

We hope that in 2010, store sales for retailers will rebound, and retailing as well as brokers and developers of retail, can look to the future with optimism.

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