Vacant building survey shows need of businesses

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Customers are more likely to pass up vacant-looking shopping centers, taking their money elsewhere even when there are some remaining shop owners anxious to give them a deal.

There are a handful of empty commercial buildings scattered throughout Grand Junction.

A recent public works survey gives a snapshot of where those buildings are and how many boarded up windows we're seeing compared to last year.

Public Works & Planning officials took to the street to gather information about vacant commercial and industrial locations, a look at how business centers are faring in Grand Junction.

"Finding out which spaces have vacancies, availability, and then matching that information and seeking out that information from realtors and property managers, bringing that information together, finding out which percentage of our overall space was indeed vacant," Brian Rushe with Public Works & Planning said of the survey.

According to the vacant building inventory survey, six percent of all existing commercial space is currently vacant, but commercial real estate officials say that's a better outcome than we had in previous years.

"There was quite a few vacant buildings available throughout the year in 2012, but we did see a fair amount of that inventory disappear especially some larger buildings, which was good to see, and we are seeing a few tenants move in, but there is still a good amount of inventory out there" said Brian Bray of Bray Real Estate.

That inventory is leaving neighboring businesses with less foot-traffic as customers are going to shopping locations with more activity and stores.

"It definitely makes it hard for us to reach our numbers and stuff that we are suppose to. We definitely are in need of looking for employees and making the business we need, as of right now it is definitely slower than it used to be with the city market and other places here" said Stephanie Esquibel, RadioShack store manager.

But real estate officials say the current market shouldn't throw a shadow over the year's potential.

"Winter is generally a slow time of month anyways, for us to tell you how much activity we are seeing for the month of January, really doesn't speak to the market of what we saw last year and what we will see in the upcoming year", Bray said.

Public work officials will continue to update the survey every few months to learn more about the market.

Officials also say some areas of town look to have more vacancies than others; part of the reason is the density of commercial space available.
For example, the closure of ace hardware in the Redlands boosted that area's numbers by a much higher percentage than other locations.

Real estate officials also say although much of the empty storefronts are due to slow economy, many buildings sit empty because they don't meet the criteria of retailers looking to open up shop.

If you want to get a closer look at the numbers from the vacant building inventory survey, we have posted a link below