Lending markets

Real estate trends point to recovery in office and retail markets

Real estate in central Arkansas’ retail and office markets appears to be positioned for a recovery in the coming months after nearly two years of battling the pandemic.

Workers left their offices in the spring of 2020, and the retail sector was hit by shutdowns and wary shoppers who stayed away in favor of selling goods and clothing online. Both real estate sectors have been decimated as the pandemic persisted, and the office market remains murky, with working from home a popular option that many employers now support.

Real estate activity in Central Arkansas in the second quarter “saw more office and retail transactions than in previous quarters, signaling a potential comeback,” Colliers of Arkansas reports in its Quarterly Real Estate Analysis. market trends.

Some interesting trends are developing in the Little Rock office market in the first wave of post-Covid lease renewals, with some businesses maintaining a hybrid work environment while smaller businesses expand into more space.

Owner-occupied office resumed during the quarter with the sale of two buildings in Westlake Corporate Park, located between Kanis and Bowman Roads and Interstate-430, and the sale of downtown high-rises, the Bank of America and the Regions Center, both on Capitol Avenue.

Colliers reports that “the retail industry (is) getting stronger – especially restaurants – with no signs of slowing down any time soon.” As evidence, the report points to the sale of Riverdale Center on Cantrell Road and Breckenridge Village on Rodney Parham Road, both transactions in May. Arkansas investors bought the malls and are planning major investments to revitalize the properties, which were developed in the 1980s.

“Redevelopments like these signal renewed interest in retail and should contribute to higher vacancy rates at both malls,” Colliers said.

Another mall from the same era, Pavilion in the Park, was sold last week to longtime commercial real estate developer John Flake.

Although Colliers says trends point to more growth, office and retail vacancy rates both rose in the quarter. Retail trade jumped one percentage point, from 13.2% in the first quarter to 14.2% in the last quarter. The office vacancy rate increased slightly, from 14.1% in the first three months of the year to 14.3% in the last quarter.

The industrial real estate sector, which has been posting good results for several quarters, remains the strong point of the market. Colliers notes that all of the largest leases finalized in the second quarter were in the industrial sector.

“Industrial space continues to fill up and is now starting to be hard to find,” the report said. “As a result, several speculative buildings are in play, most of them located in the East Little Rock and North Little Rock submarkets.”

SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESS

The Arkansas Small Business Development and Technology Center is hosting in-person and virtual events throughout August to support and promote small business development in Arkansas.

In-person events begin Tuesday in Arkadelphia with a session for small businesses to meet with major lenders in the area. A small business lending workshop will be held Wednesday in Russellville, followed by a session providing marketing tips Thursday in Piggott. Other sessions highlighting the services available to small businesses will take place in Jonesboro, Fort Smith, Russellville and Ozark later in the month.

The virtual events also begin Tuesday with a session on how businesses can gain visibility using Google Search and Maps. Other sessions will offer tips and information on obtaining research grants, starting a business, and key elements for business success.

A calendar of events is available at: http://asbtdc.org/asbtdc-events

START-UP WEEKEND

The Little Rock Venture Center and Fayetteville’s Startup Junkie are teaming up to host Startup Weekends starting August 26. The sessions offer 54 hours of training and tools to help entrepreneurs learn how to work and build a start-up business.

The weekends will be creative and collaborative sessions that will include mentors, investors, business co-founders and sponsors to show entrepreneurs how to do more faster. Sessions will offer tips and insights on pitching, creating a business model, and marketing initiatives, among other topics.

The first weekend will be August 26-28 in Fayetteville at 1 E. Center St., beginning this Friday at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m. on Sunday. A similar session will be held for Central Arkansas entrepreneurs Nov. 11-13 at 417 Main St. in Little Rock.

More information is available at venturecenter.co or startupjunkie.org.

SUPPORTING WOMEN’S ENTERPRISES

Ten Black women-owned businesses have been selected to participate in the next cohort of Women’s Foundation of Arkansas Economic Mobility Hubs. This third cohort brings the foundation’s grants to $150,000 dedicated to Black women-owned businesses since the program began in 2020.

The hub is a statewide initiative that supports black entrepreneurs across the state through a six-month program that provides support services, training and resources, including $5,000 in start-up funds. unrestricted grant.

“With the launch of our third cohort, the WFA will continue its commitment to providing resources and technical assistance to women business owners with the goal of promoting economic mobility and closing the wealth gap,” said Kara Wilkins. , which coordinates the activities of the hub.

Participants in the third hub include: Kanesha Adams of Bearapy at Pine Bluff; Melanie Battles with Scholars for the Soul: An Education Solutions Company in Bryant; Akissi Brooks of Ambitious Girls Inc. in Sherwood; Janette Cross of JValenciaACTS and Whitney Dobbins of Girly Girls Mobile Spa and More, both in North Little Rock; LaTasha Moore of Tasha teaches Spanish, Quinyatta Mumford with Mumford and Associates, Brittany Roy of Sweet Stuffed and Whitney Spencer of CROWN Salon Studio, all in Little Rock; and Ashia Shelton with Ari’s Glow Candle Co. in Brinkley.

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