In case anyone needed reminding, the Glenbrook Square area remains the dominant retail corridor in Fort Wayne, based on a recent market survey.
The Zacher Co. said retail vacancy declined 2.5 percent to 2 million square feet of available space this year. The drop has much to do with developments on the north side of town – most notably the 150,000-square-foot Costco Wholesale store, which opens today at the northwest corner of Lima and Progress roads.
The $35 million outlet was built at the former Seyfert Foods Inc. plant, which closed in 2000. Another boon for the north side was last months opening of Carsons department at Glenbrook Square. The retailer spent more than $1.6 million renovating an area once occupied by Marshall Fields, which left the 122,000-square-foot storefront in 2005.
The developments represent a combination that retail investors like to see – new construction and storefronts removing the vacancy signs.
You need both, really, said Steve Zacher, president, who assisted Costco in acquiring the land from Menard Inc. There have been a lot of positive developments. Both Costco and Carsons are regional draws.
Zachers annual study examines the northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast sections of the city. Zacher and its affiliate, CORFAC International, calculate the vacancy square footage using data compiled from multiple online listing services and brokers listing information from their websites and mailings.
Looking ahead to next year, growth of retail space downtown likely will continue to accelerate, Zacher said, spearheaded by a $71 million mixed-use project with Ash Brokerage Corp. at the center.
The 17-story venture includes a headquarters for the company, parking garage, retail space, condos, apartments and townhouses. The total development will be more than 200,000 square feet, and it is expected to be completed by August 2015.
A mixture of new construction and remodeled space will help attract future investors, Zacher said.
They kind of do go together, he said. Retailers are hesitant to come in and build new if they see a lot of vacancies.