F’ville commercial vacancies: 1 in 4

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 5:11pm
By: Ben Nelms

Office space even worse: Nearly 1 out of every 3 F’ville offices is empty

Fayetteville, the commercial capital of the county, is suffering through a tenant drought, with one in every four commercial properties empty, and nearly one in every three office spaces vacant, the City Council was told last week.

Fayetteville during 2009 saw a 25 percent vacancy rate for commercial properties and a 30 percent vacancy rate in office space during the last five months of the year. Figures on the city’s vacancies were presented at the City Council retreat Feb. 12 by Senior Planner Linwood Robinson.

Commercial vacancies from August through December ranged from 24.9 percent to 25.8 percent, Robinson said.

Vacancies in office space have been similarly affected by the recession, with rates virtually holding steady during the August-December period at 30 percent.

Reporting on vacant industrial space, Robinson said those properties saw vacancies ranging from 5-5.7 percent during the same period.

Robinson reviewed the city’s current response to the vacancies and the incentives available to help foster new business growth.

The city has a 50 percent exemption in place for impact fees and sewer proportionate fees for redevelopment and re-use of existing retail space where development would increase ad valorem taxes, said Robinson. The exemption is set to expire in May and could be renewed by the council.

The city is also awaiting approval by the General Assembly for a Tax Allocation District (TAD) measure that, if approved by voters, would encourage the redevelopment of the city’s older commercial and office space by offsetting redevelopment costs, Robinson said. To date there are at least three sites that could be considered for TAD projects.

Robinson also noted the expedited application process in place in the Planning & Zoning Department and the relaxed requirements with the sign ordinance previously approved by the council.

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Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 02/17/2010 - 4:15pm.

How did they determine the vacancy rate? A percentage of the total Square Footage is the industry standard.

Gene61's picture
Submitted by Gene61 on Wed, 02/17/2010 - 3:01am.

They'll keep allowing new land to bedevoloped while the store fronts stay empty. Sooner or later Fayette County will not have the open spaces it once had. Fayette County has lost a lot of its charm that brought me to the area some 20+ years ago.

TADos going to sit in the General Assembly until the palms are greased enough to move it forward. Long term tax breaks are not always the answer. For all the Walmarts that come here, the cost to the city is far outweighted by the lack of revenue we collect due to the tax breaks they take advantage of, sooner or later we the taxpayer get stiffed.

Gene61's picture
Submitted by Gene61 on Wed, 02/17/2010 - 2:55am.

Welcome to the results of mis-management 101 and failure to plan for the future.

Submitted by chrissy314r2 on Tue, 02/16/2010 - 10:50pm.

I brought this up at a City Council meeting some time ago and I was ignored completely. The guys on the Council are nice men but have no background in real estate and just do not have a clue. These are the same guys whom allowed the city to purchase the hull that used to be Travis Hardware. So, the tax payers are the proud owners of one of these empty store fronts right on the square.

Tiger Dad's picture
Submitted by Tiger Dad on Tue, 02/16/2010 - 11:53pm.

Most of the city council members are old cronies that are there for the prestige and probably a little lining of pockets. They are there for one reason...pension. Pensions are great, but to hang on to a council seat JUST for the tax payer funded pension?? Those guys aren't there to listen to citizens. I've been to those meetings. The mayor is, to be blunt, a complete jerk with no regard to anything that citizens have to say unless it benefits him or some of his political friends. There were people running for council seats that brought up the fact of the empty space as part of their platform. Did they win? No. I'm guessing, but I'd say about 10% or so of the registered voters in the city of Fayetteville voted in the last two elections. Oh yeah, and the mayor ran unopposed. That's embarrassing when you see towns like Tyrone and Peachtree City continually having hotly contested elections and we are lucky to have someone just "volunteer" to take a position. I would love to serve on the council, but I'm a single dad with volunteer obligations (I don't get paid for my service to the community and I'll never receive a pension for it). It would be nice for someone to step up and do the right thing for once. If not, I'm ready to move before Fayetteville turns into another Riverdale. And trust me, we're almost there...

Tiger Dad's picture
Submitted by Tiger Dad on Tue, 02/16/2010 - 10:18pm.

The Mayor and city council have continued, over the last few years, to allow more and more commercial development which creates more and more empty space. If you ever drive down GA HWY 85, you can't help but see all the empty space. Just look at the new site across the street from Melear's BBQ. What the heck is that supposed to be? This problem of empty commercial space is nothing new for Fayetteville. Sure, the recession has something to do with some businesses failing and leaving behind an empty space. But to continue to allow building of new commercial structures? Why not give incentives to potential business owners to lease existing space instead of throwing up new structures? Makes no sense to me. Never has, never will...

Submitted by chrissy314r2 on Wed, 02/17/2010 - 3:49pm.

The Council blames it on Planning and Zoning. If the land is zoned then they can not deny anyone the right to build in that area. This is what I was told outside of a pubic meeting.

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 02/17/2010 - 4:17pm.

They don't have the power to keep a property owner from developing his land if it fits the current zoning. I'm not sure you want a government with that much power.

I'll add one caveat to this...the Council is the actual body that sets zoning on property. All other committees, etc. are just recommendations.

Submitted by 30YearResident on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 1:27pm.

Turning down the building permit ?? I believe the City Council has the option to put a moratorium on authorization of building permits with "just cause", which I'm sure the City Attorney could justify.

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