Make us your home page

Retail vacancy rate in Tampa Bay shopping centers grows to 10.5 percent

The retail vacancy rate in Tampa Bay shopping centers has grown to 10.5 percent or enough empty space to fill International Plaza about 10 times.

Yet while retail rents continue declining to an average of about $15 a square foot, down from $16.53 last summer, industry experts think Florida's retail space glut has peaked, consumer spending is beginning to come back and rents are stabilizing.

"Last year's volatility has settled out, and we're seeing recovery in some places," said Justin Greider, an executive with Crossman & Co. who compiled the report for the local International Council of Shopping Centers annual conference on Friday. "We measure 'asking rents,' and landlords are now being more realistic than they had been."

Few of the 700 landlords, shopping center developers and store leasing executives gathered at the conference expected their industry's overbuilding to be cured simply by consumers getting more confident about discretionary spending.

That's because the hotel and shopping center industries are the biggest parts of the commercial real estate industry that dramatically built far ahead of demand during the boom years of easy credit and soaring land prices. Now they are plagued by slack demand, no population growth, fewer tenants, reduced rent and shrinking property values at a time when many of their debts are coming due.

No one knows yet how much of the $3.5 trillion commercial mortgage debt bubble nationally that comes due for refinancing over the next three years is backed by distressed property. That's because the banks have not foreclosed or declared many real estate loans as non-performing even though owners aren't making payments. Meantime, pressure is mounting on owners to act quickly, because the refinancing window closes when interest rates start rising.

Shopping center financing now requires about 30 percent down, up from 20 percent a year ago. So while the best properties will remain full and healthy, pressure for short sales to unload distressed properties is building.

"There is going to be a lot of pain. It is going to start soon and last well into 2012," said K.C. Conway, senior real estate analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. "The blood has to be let."

Mark Albright can be reached at or (727) 893-8252.

Retail vacancy rate in Tampa Bay shopping centers grows to 10.5 percent 02/26/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 26, 2010 10:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]