Columbus Retail Market Report
In-Migration, University Reopening Bolster Outlook; Rising Case Rate Creates Near-Term Uncertainty
Retail demand drivers maintain metro’s regional standing. Columbus posted the tightest vacancy among Midwest markets at the end of last year, the beneficiary of a local economy that recovered 70 percent of the positions lost during the initial months of the health crisis. In 2021, vacancy is expected to remain regionally low. The metro’s concentration of financial, insurance and tech-related firms and lower cost of living will draw new households, boosting demand for goods and services. Businesses near Ohio State University should experience an additional jolt in sales as the institution expects 75 percent of classes to be taught in person this fall, with student attendance at football games under consideration. Retailers motivated to expand this year will scour the market’s existing vacant stock as a historically low volume of retail space is slated for completion.