Albuquerque commercial vacancy rate increases over past decade | KOB 4

Albuquerque commercial vacancy rate increases over past decade

Jen French
October 16, 2017 10:16 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- There may be times when downtown Albuquerque feels deserted.


For every three occupied commercial spaces, there's one empty one in downtown Albuquerque. "For lease signs" on each block suggest that downtown is barren.

"I've been to so many cities that have so much life and ours is pretty, it's pretty dead," said Christopher Roybal, an Albuquerque resident. “It's pretty rough."

"I think the space should be put to use," said Joe Baca, another resident.

According to CBRE commercial real estate services in Albuquerque, the commercial vacancy rate citywide is nearly 21 percent. That’s up from 14 percent, which was the citywide vacancy rate in 2007.

CBRE First Vice President Terri Dettweiler said two decades ago businesses only expected three parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet of commercial space. Now businesses are cramming more workers into the same space and asking for five to six spaces for every 1,000 square feet.

Dettweiler said limited parking downtown is also an obstacle.

"A large part of Albuquerque's economy is government users," Dettweiler said. "A lot of that has scaled back, and we still have to find those businesses to backfill."

According to the Commercial Association of REALTORS New Mexico’s website, there are at least 1,838 commercial spaces for lease in the Albuquerque metro. Of them, 954 are office spaces, 576 are retail and 435 are empty shopping center spaces. 

According to CARNM, the New Mexico Bank and Trust building has 20 spaces available for rent. The First Plaza Galeria has 22. The Bank of the West building at 500 Marquette has 26 openings.

According to CBRE’s data, 25 percent of the retail and office space downtown is unoccupied. Near the University of New Mexico, that number jumps to 35 percent. The emptiest part of town is by the airport where 44 percent of commercial space is empty.

Dettweiler said government agencies and private businesses left some of these outdated spaces to move into newer construction. Dettweiler hopes that mixed-use redevelopment can motivate businesses to move into the vacant spaces.

"We've seen some redevelopment," Dettweiler said. "All it takes is a creative developer who has a vision."


Jen French

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