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Commercial real estate report shows business in Lincoln is holding steady amid pandemic – KOLN


LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – Over the last six months, there’s been a lot of talk about struggling businesses and economic downturn caused by the pandemic. But a new report released by a Lincoln real estate company shows business in Lincoln is stronger than it appears.

“We’re a strong town and a strong community,” Mike Ball, Vice President of Sales and Leasing for NAIFMA realty said.

NAIFMA realty released their market report for the first half of 2020. It breaks down commercial real estate into three categories, office, retail and industrial.

The area that’s been most heavily impacted are retail businesses, with vacancy rates at 7.1%, which is up from 6.6% at the end of 2019.

“If businesses were just getting by or hanging by a thread, this accelerated their exit plan,” Ball said.

Another sector impacted, though in an unexpected way, is office space. Even with people working from home. vacancy rates are down to 8.3% from 8.6% in 2019.

“Those that are coming back to work or will come back to work will need the extra space to spread out,” Ball said.

Industrial is the third sector, and Ball said its been largely unaffected by the pandemic. Vacancy rates are at 3%, which is slightly down from 3.1%

What has seen more of a downturn is new construction, with new building permits down to 11 from 27 last year.

“Construction prices only go one way and that’s up,” Ball said.

He said businesses are likely opting to remodel their current spaces instead of rebuild.

Though he guesses that’s likely temporary.

Overall, Ball said the takeaway is that Lincoln is still a good place to do business.

“In working with customers and clients they’ve asked well what’s going to happen and the answer is I don’t know but I’m optimistic that things are trending up,” Ball said. “The confidence is there.”

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