Commercial retail vacancies down in Northern Colorado

Restaurant vacancies are down in Greeley, Colo.

Three cities in Northern Colorado are all posting solid gains in the commercial real estate sector.

Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley all saw vacancies in retail real estate diminish year-over-year through the first quarter of 2013, according to data from Xceligent, a real estate analysis firm.

While Fort Collins and Loveland have shown stronger rebounds in the housing sector, Greeley actually posted the top figure for decreasing vacancies in commercial retail, dropping 1.5 percent. Fort Collins was next at 1.1 percent and Loveland notched a 0.7 percent drop.

"There is renewed vigor in restaurant activity with the energy industry workers having more disposable income to spend in these establishments," Steve Kawulok, managing director for Sperry Van Ness Commercial, told the Northern Colorado Business Report.

Restaurant vacancies in Greeley plummeted from 9 percent in the first quarter of 2012 to 4.4 percent in the first quarter of 2013. Office vacancies are also trending down, going from 12 percent to 5.8 percent from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013.

Some companies are even transforming retail space into office space.

Teletech, one of the largest global providers of transformational customer experience strategy, announced it would open a state-of-the art facility in January 2012. Teletech took over a former K-Mart shopping center in the heart of Greeley and renovated the building from retail space to office space in order to house up to 1,000 employees.

"Retail space has many features attractive to these types of users, such as ease of access, plentiful parking and major commercial corridor locations," Kawolok said. He noted that while the cost of renovating a building can be seen as too expensive or difficult for some, it does provide advantages that typical office space lacks.

Technology companies in Colorado
A bank in Loveland is also taking advantage of technology startups in the area. Home State Bank has shaped a partnership with Rocky Mountain Innosphere, a technology company incubator, which supports and funds technology startups until they begin to generate revenue and can become regular bank clients.

"Brilliant people who have very little business acumen come to the marketplace with a great idea, but they don't have that next step – what I call mezzanine capital to bridge the gap between having a great idea and bringing it to market," Jamie Hardy, private banking officer Home State Bank, told Bank Technology News.

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