In the second half of 2009, the Twin Cities commercial real estate market experienced vacancy levels not seen in about 20 years, according to a report from Bloomington-based NorthMarq, a commercial real estate services firm.
NorthMarq's semi-annual report shows that for the full year 2009, a record amount of space -- 4.3 million square feet -- became vacant.
NorthMarq's Mike Ohmes says the retail sector was hit the hardest. As stores closed and others failed to open, the retail vacancy rate shot to 10 percent.
"Since we've started keeping statistics, we've never recorded a retail vacancy rate that high," Ohmes said. "A more normal vacancy rate for retail would be in the 4, 5 [or] 6 percent range."
Ohmes says he expects more corporate contractions and space give-backs this year, with commercial vacancy rates peaking in the second half of the year.