Bend properties bump up vacancy rate

Commercial market feels loss of Sears, addition of factory space

By Joseph Ditzler / The Bulletin / @josefditzler

Two large properties — one retail and one industrial — bumped up the commercial real estate vacancy rates in Bend as 2013 came to a close, according to the quarterly survey by Compass Commercial Real Estate Services.

The fourth quarter ended with a 12.25-percent vacancy rate for industrial property in Bend, an increase over the 9.6 percent rate in the same period in 2012, according to the survey. Nearly 513,000 square feet was available for lease, Compass Points, the firm’s quarterly newsletter.

“The industrial rates are somewhat skewed by a few large blocks of industrial that are available on the market,” said Compass broker Jay Lyons. “And there aren’t a great deal of tenants available to occupy such large spaces.”

One such space became available again for tenants in December, when a firm started by Melissa and Brad Kent purchased for $2.7 million the former Fuqua Homes Inc. manufacturing plant near Boyd Acres Road. The Kents and Brian Fratzke of Fratzke Commercial Real Estate plan to rehabilitate the property into space for several industrial tenants. Fratzke, who has charge of developing the property, was unavailable for comment, his office said.

The 125,000-square-foot Fuqua building on Murray Road represents more than 24 percent of the total vacant industrial space in Bend, according to Compass. Without it, the industrial vacancy rate in the city would have stood at 9.3 percent in the fourth quarter.

In Redmond, 18.2 percent of the 1.4 million square feet of industrial space was available for lease in the fourth quarter, according to Compass Points. The rate fell from 21.4 percent in the third quarter. The last time the industrial vacancy rate was below 20 percent in Redmond was the fourth quarter of 2007, according to the survey.

In other sectors, the amount of retail space available in Bend rose to 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter, up from 7.7 percent the previous quarter. Again, one big loss in 2013 — the closing of Sears in the Bend River Promenade — put a large retail building back into play.

Office space available for lease in Bend decreased from 17.8 percent in the second quarter to 16.9 percent in the fourth quarter.

“This represents the sixth consecutive quarterly drop in a row, and the lowest rate in five and a half years,” according to the market summary. Bend’s west side and the Highway 97-Third Street corridor showed declines in the amount of space available; downtown office vacancies rose slightly to 16.41 percent.

— Reporter: 541-617-7815, jditzler@bendbulletin.com