2012 Forecast

Office leasing was a bright spot in South Santa Barbara County in 2011, the brokers at Hayes Commercial Group note, and office vacancy remains tight in the downtown business corridor. “The six new downtown leases larger than 10,000 square feet is the most we have ever recorded,” Greg Bartholomew of Hayes Commercial said via email, “including major leases by Antioch University, RightScale and Sonos.”
The Goleta office market also saw several new leases and expansions, including Yardi, Control Point, Network Hardware Resale and Appfolio. “This year we saw that tenants are willing to pay a premium for updated office spaces, and landlords who invested in improvements were rewarded with quicker leasing times and higher rates,” Francois DeJohn of Hayes Commercial said.

The brokerage firm said it expects office leasing to remain a strong point in 2012.

On the retail side, several large national retailers, including Marshalls, H&M and REI, laid down roots in downtown Santa Barbara in 2011. Several new restaurants opened as well, further helping to narrow the vacancy rates in Santa Barbara’s core shopping districts. Retail brokers Michael Martz and Kris Roth with Hayes said they expect clothing retailers in the low- to mid-price range will continue to backfill vacant spots.

Southern Santa Barbara County saw an increase in commercial sales in 2011, and like brokers elsewhere in the Tri-Counties, those on the South Coast saw much of that activity coming from owner-users. Large transactions in 2011 included Deckers’ purchase of land in the Cabrillo Business Park in Goleta for its future headquarters and the sale of Mentor’s building at 301 Mentor Drive.