The Walmart was is grey metal desks and chairs in spartan warehouse spaces turned into cubicles...perhaps a drab workplace, but...
Seems to be a lot of upscale office spaces and retail shops that are finding the high rents they pay are not commensurate with the traffic count or suddenly a big wad of new service commercial properties pop up at a new intersection leaving the more traditional strip malls and regional malls pretty bare.
This rapid turn over has its downside. More businesses are depending upon appearance and location to bring them business than they are at earning it. I remember when bookstores were in downtown areas and you stood shoulder to shoulder in them looking at books. Now you go to the suburban malls and find them in high rent buildings. They stay 3-4 years then they are gone. Ditto for office stores, remember Reliable Office? After years as mail order outfit they blossomed then croaked. A recent year in Fayetteville, AR. there were 50 new food places opened and exactly 50 that folded.
All in the same labor market, same appeal, what is the cost that killed them? High rents per volume are a big culprit. And the finish to these buildings are such that they need high rents to service the debt and make a profit for the developer-investors. Stained Oak, hardwood floors, elegant fixtures, at the same time ignoring super high effecient heating and cooling, super insulation, etc. and other things that could save the renter a bundle at times like now when energy prices are high.
I went to a commercial realtors meeting last week for our annual review of our local market, and a prominent brokerage office's presentation of annual projections for the economy and the market. Inflation - up, interest rates - up, vacancy - up...should be an interesting year. At my bank, we review financial's for our commercial borrowers even if they are current with payments, and we are seeing their numbers slipping, I'm hearing from appraisers they are receiving more appraisal requests for commercial work-outs...haven't seen this kind of thing in about 16-17 years.
Hotels? Couldn't tell it by the last stay I had in Renaissance Hotel.. stinking TV had about 3 channels plus pay-for **** flicks or movies you could rent for a $1 anywhere else. Didn't even have the Weather Channel. $8 smacks a day for parking and I still ended up with a dent in the door. I stayed at an Economy Inn in Carlsbad for about 25% of that and they had more spanish stations than the Renaissance had total.
Fires in the West has affected some of the tourist traffic there for sure. The commercial market should lag the stock market by a year or more, then the residential market is the last thing to sputter in a bear market. The other shoe will drop eventually, that I am confident of.
Consumer Report had a map - published couple of months ago, identifying the Metro areas with markets which are possible bubbles. They id them on the basis on the historical relationships between local prices and local incomes.