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Commercial Real Estate Transactions Up In Westport Connecticut Despite Smaller Transactions

Here is another real estate expert, Commercial Broker, Bob Miller. I asked Bob to review recent patterns in the commercial real estate realm. Here are his observations:

2011 showed a trend in Westport being played out across the country; more and more commercial real estate transactions completed but for smaller amounts of actual space than in years past.

This trend is clearly illustrated in the number of office leases signed this year – 34. However, at the same time the vacancy rate which is expressed as a percentage of how much office space is available compared to the total amount in place, stands at 24%.  This is slightly higher than this time last year.

Transactions for retail stores tell a similar story.  20 transactions this year and a vacancy rate of 18% available which is virtually the same as this time as last year.

The reasons are varied but one common theme is that businesses of every type and in all industries are following a path laid out by the US military 25-30 years ago – doing more with less.  Companies are pushing new strategies not only to combat competitors and market conditions they face today, but also to remain competitive against the challenges of tomorrow they can’t even see yet.  One key strategy is to reduce “bricks and mortar.”

Yes, shrinking the real estate envelope is possible by reduced hiring, but the internet has radically changed the way we all shop, conduct business and communicate.  It is no longer necessary for sales teams, engineering teams, editors, accountants or most people to be in the same office at the same time to conduct business.  Its all on line meaning more and more people work from home or on the road. The corner office may still exist, but the next couple of levels might very well be on a laptop at home.

This phenomena is very clear in retailing.  How many of us shop on line now.  The answer is “more and more every day.”  Retailers cherish the Black Friday shopping day right after Thanksgiving and now have a new day to love – Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving when shoppers hit the internet.  This has led to a nationwide statistic showing a 3.5% increase in retail sales matched against a ½% reduction in store traffic.

The general feeling is the commercial real estate market will improve in 2012 as the national economy shows signs of lurching forward.  It is our opinion that we will see increased activity among smaller companies who look to expand and increase market share but also in the building sales area.  The attractive commercial mortgage interest rates combined with pools of money reserved for just such an occasion are starting to lure sophisticated buyers into the market.

Challenges will continue, but the Westport marketplace should look healthier this time next year.

Here is Bob’s Professional Experience:

Bob Miller has been a commercial real estate broker in southern Connecticut since 1984.  He began his real estate career in an independent real estate company in Stamford, CT where he specialized in office and industrial properties.

He received top performance honors in 1989 through 1991 and again in 1993 through 1998, his last full year there.  He was also awarded company recognition certificates for his role in developing and implementing company training and programs for commercial brokers.

He has represented some of the area’s premier properties including Financial Centre, General Reinsurance’s headquarters in Stamford, Glendinning Place in Westport, 55 Post Road West in Westport, 30 East Elm Street in Greenwich, International Paper’s corporate headquarters at 400 Atlantic Street, Stamford, and was one of the original agents for One Main Place in Stamford.

Companies he has represented include the Dannon Companies, General Reinsurance Corporation, Arkwright Mutual Insurance Company, Sotheby’s, Hertz Corporation, Champion Energy, Hitachi Chemical and others. 

 In 1999 Mr. Miller, along with partners opened Prudential Connecticut Commercial Real Estate. 

Posted in CT Real Estate, Fairfield County Real Estate, Westport Connecticut, Westport Connecticut Real EstateComments Off on Commercial Real Estate Transactions Up In Westport Connecticut Despite Smaller Transactions


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