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DFW Retail Occupancy in 2017 Was Second-Highest in 30-plus Years, Weitzman Report Says

North Texas retail's in a cycle of continuing stability, the company says in its 2018 Shopping Center Review and Forecast
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Weitzman’s Herb Weitzman, left, interviewed Robert S. Kaplan at the Bush Center Wednesday.

The retail market in Dallas-Fort Worth ended 2017 with an occupancy rate of 92.5 percent, down slightly from 92.7 percent in 2018. Even so, retail occupancy here was the second-highest it’s been in more than three decades, retail real estate company Weitzman said in its 2018 Shopping Center Review and Forecast. And it’s expected to tick up, to 93 percent, by the end of this year, according to Robert E. Young Jr., the company’s executive managing director.

Dallas-based Weitzman declared before that “we’re in a cycle of stability, and it continues,” Young said Wednesday at the company’s 27th annual forecast event, held this year at Dallas’ George W. Bush Presidential Center. “We can expect another year of stability.”

The main reason for the slight dip in occupancy from 2016 was the closure of several “legacy department stores” at three of the region’s oldest malls, Young said. But plans already are afoot to redevelop that space, he added, and, overall, DFW’s 19 malls ended 2017 with a vacancy rate of 6.42 percent.

Meanwhile, Weitzman reported, the region’s 690 neighborhood centers were 88.8 percent occupied in 2017, down slightly from 89.4 percent in 2016, and 42 mixed-use centers saw a 94.3 percent occupancy rate, down from 95.6 percent. In addition, 141 power centers ended 2017 at 94.5 percent, down from 95.5 percent, and 476 community centers were at 92.7 percent, up from 92.4 percent the year before.

At Wednesday’s Bush Center event, Weitzman Executive Chairman Herb Weitzman also interviewed Robert S. Kaplan, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “We’re gonna have a pretty good year in 2018,” Kaplan predicted about the U.S. economy, citing consumer “balance sheets in very good shape” and a “very strong job market.”

This year, the Weitzman forecast concluded, North Texas will see 3 million square feet of new construction, down from 2017’s new-space total of 4.2 million square feet in 27 new and expanded retail or mixed-use projects.

Weitzman’s forecast figures were based on the firm’s comprehensive review of DFW’s total retail market inventory of about 197.9 million square feet in projects with 25,000 square feet or more.

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