The doldrums into which the local retail real estate market slipped has been broken here and there by a few noteworthy events. Likely the most significant is the resumption of construction on The Collection at Riverpark, a 600,000-square-foot lifestyle center in Oxnard (see Special Real Estate Factors). Reis cites an October 2012 completion date. In addition, the Ventura County Star reported in September, Walmart’s Neighborhood Market store at the Esplanade Shopping Center in the same city is scheduled to open this November. These projects aside, the retail market remains quiet. No development has completed construction since the 197,000-square-foot Carriage Square community center in Oxnard and The Terrace, a 14,500-square-foot neighborhood center in Simi Valley, delivered during the fourth quarter of 2011. Apart from the above-cited projects, none was under construction as of September.
Modest signs of recovery, meanwhile, are apparent in the county’s 11.0- million-square-foot community-neighborhood shopping center market. Accompanied by 39,000 square feet of positive net absorption during the first half of the year (including the second quarter’s negative 27,000), vacancy ended the second quarter at 8.9%, up 20 basis points from the quarter before, down 40 since year-end. The negative absorption of 8,000 square feet that followed in July–August added 10 more points to the vacancy number. The second quarter national community-neighborhood sector rate, for the sake of comparison, was somewhat higher at 10.8%. At $28.49 psf and $24.77 psf, asking and effective average lease rates for the latest quarter were essentially unchanged from the quarter before and were up 0.3% and 0.2% since year-end in the wake of an essentially flat performance in 2011. Each rate had added one cent by the end of August.
Modest positive net absorption over the remainder of the year should return the community-neighborhood sector vacancy rate to 8.9%. Gains of 0.6% currently are projected for both the mean asking and effective rents for the year. Slow improvement along with measured development should follow.