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Retail vacancies at 4-year low

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    Waikiki Yokocho plans to create an upscale Japanese food court opening in 2016 at the Waikiki Shopping Plaza.

Oahu’s retail vacancy rate fell to 3.8 percent at the end of the second quarter, its lowest level in more than four years, according to a report scheduled to be released Friday by Colliers International.

The vacancy rate dropped from 4.4 percent in the year-earlier quarter.

Colliers attributed much of the improvement to the recent leasing of Waikiki resort centers, which filled more than 36,000 square feet of space since the beginning of the year.

The leasing of 23,000 square feet in the space formerly occupied by Love Culture in Waikiki Shopping Plaza was the biggest change that drove down vacancy rates, the report said. Waikiki Yokocho plans to create a high-end Japanese food court opening in late summer 2016 that will include 17 restaurant and retail spaces.

Gains in job growth, residential home prices, construction and visitors have “helped to fuel consumer spending and retail expansion plans,” according to Colliers. Retail sales in 2014 reached a record of nearly $27 billion, up 2.6 percent over the previous year.

Retail base rents on Oahu rose to $3.77 per square foot per month from $3.45 a year ago.

An estimated 2.7 million square feet of retail shopping center developments is projected to be under construction or open between the third quarter of 2015 and the end of 2016.

“While there is pent-up demand for prime retail space, this would be a sizable amount of inventory to be absorbed in such a short amount of time,” Colliers said.

As a result, Colliers anticipates vacancy rates to increase. Major projects include Ala Moana Center’s Bloomingdale’s wing, Waikiki’s International Market Place redevelopment, Leeward Oahu’s Live Work Play Aiea, the Kapolei Commons expansion and DeBartolo Development’s Ka Makana Alii in Ewa.

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