Chicago area retail vacancy hits highest point since 2010

The demise of Toys R Us pushed the region’s vacancy rate to 11.6 percent, just shy of its post-recession peak, a CBRE report said

Jul.July 25, 2018 10:00 AM

An abandoned store and Toys R Us (Credit: Brian Crawford via Flickr and Michael Mozart via Flickr)

The Chicago-area retail vacancy rate hit 11.6 percent during the second quarter, reaching its highest point since 2010 and a half-percentage point shy of its post-recession peak.

Asking rents for the region’s retail tenants dipped to an average of $18.60 per square foot per year, thanks in part to the bankruptcies of Toys R Us and Carson’s department stores, according to a CBRE quarterly report cited in Crain’s.

But the report noted a growing demand for restaurants, fitness centers and grocery stores, noting a Mariano’s supermarket that opened in Crystal Lake and a new Pete’s Fresh Market in Glen Ellyn. New tenants have also swooped into former Toys R Us locations in Highland Park, Vernon Hills and Chicago’s Montclare neighborhood.

At 5.1 percent, the city’s North Side recorded the lowest retail vacancy rate of the 12 submarkets highlighted in CBRE’s report. The south suburbs notched the highest share of vacant retail spaces, with 22.5 percent.

The city’s retail vacancy rate is moving in the opposite direction as the suburbs, falling to 6.4 percent during the first half of 2018 with a 4.4 percent vacancy rate in the city center, according to a report released earlier this month by Newmark Knight Frank. [Crain’s] — Alex Nitkin

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