The retail sector in Sarasota and Manatee counties has evolved over the past three years, amid industrywide changes accelerating online shopping and a demographic influx that is skewing younger than in previous years.
New development, to the extent it has occurred in any concentration, has been centered around University Town Center, the Benderson Development Co. retail node anchored by the $315 million Mall at University Town Center.
Leasing activity through the first three quarters of 2017 has been focused largely on backfilling vacant spaces abandoned by the likes of Sports Authority, department stores like Dillard's and grocers such as SweetBay — a trend that has caused negative absorption. With retail bankruptcies nationwide occurring at a record pace this year, that trend is likely to continue.
Still, overall vacancy has largely held steady in the two-county submarket this year, as new entrants such as Lucky's Market and Ollie's Bargain Outlet have backfilled empty spaces.
5% Overall vacancy in the Sarasota and Manatee submarket as of Sept. 30. A year ago, the vacancy rate stood at 4.7%. By comparison, the vacancy rate for the overall market, from Tampa to Sarasota, also was 5% at the end of the quarter.
$25.5 Amount, in millions, of the largest retail property sale thus far in 2017. A New York investor bought the ailing DeSoto Square Mall, in Bradenton, with plans to overhaul the 678,377-square-foot property.
10 Total number of retail projects under construction in Sarasota and Manatee counties as of Sept. 30. In all, the projects will add 321,127 square feet to the market. Roughly 73% of the new space has been pre-leased. The largest new project is a fully leased, Whole Foods Market-anchored center at 4900 University Parkway, in northern Sarasota County, slated to open early in 2018.
$15.52 Average rental rate for retail space in the submarket at the end of the third quarter. Only Pinellas County and Central Tampa have commanded higher rates in 2017 for the overall market.
(130,282) Amount of negative absorption of retail space thus far in 2017 in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Negative absorption occurs when the amount of space brought to the market as a result of vacancies exceeds leasing activity. All of the submarket's negative absorption, interestingly, occurred in Sarasota.
45,780 Square footage of the largest new retail lease executed in the third quarter. Ollie's Bargain Outlet's deal in the Manatee Town Center backfilled space that had been vacant since 2009. Previously, SweetBay Supermarkets occupied the 5165 33rd St. E. space. Ollie's also leased a vacant 42,162 square feet this year in Sarasota County's Centergate Plaza, which had been occupied by Sports Authority.