Thanks to a healthy pipeline of mixed-use developments and hungry grocery developers, Houston’s retail industry posted some of the highest absorption numbers in nearly a decade, according to a recent CBRE report.
Houston absorbed roughly 1.5 million square feet during the second quarter of 2016, which is the best net absorption for Houston retail since 2007, according to the report. The greater Houston retail market’s occupancy is 94.2 percent and the Class A retail market has even higher occupancy rates, according to the report.
“As developers move forward with more speculative construction, demand must continue to grow in order to retain occupancy at above average rates,” the report states. “Though the office and multifamily pipelines are cooling, land sites slated for multifamily projects are now available for retail developers, giving rise to more mixed-use developments within the inner Loop.”
Those projects include the Kirby Collection, a $125 million mixed-use project in Upper Kirby that’ll include 65,000 square feet of high-end retailalong Kirby Drive, including restaurants. There’s also Houston-based Midway Cos.’s Memorial Green, a mixed-use development that’ll have a mix of shops, restaurants and boutique office space.
Tilman Fertitta‘s The Post Oak, a 680,000-square-foot tower that will include 250 luxury hotel rooms, more than 140,000 square feet of boutique office space and 22 residential apartment units, is another example of a high-end mixed-use project that has big-name retail planned, such as Houston’s first Mastro’s Steakhouse.
The report notes that several vacancies, some caused by the big box closures of The Fresh Market Inc. and Colorado-based Sports Authority, didn’t derail the retail industry’s strong performance. Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy in March and shuttered its 10 Houston-area locations. The Fresh Market closed its four Houston locations on March 18, citing “long-term financial performance of the company,” among other things.
Houston’s aggressive grocery developers also helped the city’s retail numbers to surge. San Antonio-based H-E-B Grocery Co. has been cooking up a slew of new development in all corners of the Bayou City, including purchasing a large tract of land in Humble and transforming its Bellaire store into its first multilevel store in the Houston area.
Cincinnati-based Kroger Co.(NYSE: KR), for its part, is planning a Kroger Marketplace to anchor the Spring Pines Shopping Center. In May, Kroger also announced it was one of several power tenants opening soon in a new retail hub near Generation Park.
Cara covers commercial real estate and construction for the Houston Business Journal. Follow her on Twitter for more.