Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commercial Projects Abound

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commercial Projects Abound

Article excerpt

Low vacancy rates, rising rental rates and a healthy economy mean that Oklahoma City will see many new commercial developments in 1998.

"I think the trend we're going to see next year is a lot more development," says Harrison Levy, owner of Harrison Levy Co. Realtors. "The real estate business has just been phenomenal the last year. The problem is we're running out of product."

Projects are on the drawing board in retail, industrial, hotel/motel and entertainment real estate. While office vacancies have decreased in suburban areas, they have not dropped low enough to trigger new development. "From a trend standpoint, I think we're in an extremely healthy market," says Judy Hatfield, president of Equity Realty and 1998 president of the Oklahoma CCIM chapter. Edmond, Norman and north and south Oklahoma City maintain vacancies under 10 percent in industrial properties, suburban office space and retail properties. "We're going to continue to see rental rates rise," she says. "We're in a situation where most of our rental rates, even on good existing properties, are raising to a level that's getting close to what will support new construction." The only area that raises concerns of overbuilding is the hotel/motel market. "Everything else I think we'll be able to absorb in 1998," Hatfield says. Job growth and population growth is at levels to support the development, Levy says. "So long as we don't move too fast, we can continue." Retail growth will continue in the Interstate 40/Meridian area and in the Quail Springs area. Mark White, associate of retail properties at CB Commercial Real Estate Group, says the metro is ripe for more retail development. "The recent development that we have seen has been well thought out, and those recent developments already show vacancy rates under 10 percent," he says. …

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