Strip Malls are Building up but Staying Empty
But at the Centerstate Shoppes, Quiznos is about the only thing popular. A Sprint store also fills a vacancy in the center, but no one else. That leaves 21 of 23 units empty, a trend building up around Columbia.
"Generally speaking is what happens is that everybody over develops," said real estate agent Donald Lairmore. "They over develop and then wait for it to catch up, over develop and wait for it to catch up."
But as Lairmore said, then comes the problem of filling the lots.
"You see what happens in small retail is that small retail follows the big retail. Small retail is not the leader."
The key lies in attracting big businesses. And while Lairmore says shops such as Bass Pro provide a good starting point, they're not big enough. But Wal-Mart is and they'll open two new stores in Columbia in the coming weeks surrounded by more empty retail space. But developers don't view that as a big problem.
"They say, 'well this will be a good location.' How long it will be i don't know, but it's gonna be a good location," Lairmore said.
They just hope it's sooner rather than later. Lairmore says they may lower the rent price to attract more businesses.
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