Baltimore Retail Investment forecast
Elevated Tenant and Investor Demand Provide an Optimistic Outlook for Baltimore's Retail Sector
Leasing activity rises to pre-pandemic levels. Net absorption in Baltimore returned to positive territory in 2021, allowing vacancy to decline on an annual basis for the first time since 2017. Grocers and home decor retailers were the most active among tenants that have been leasing larger spaces in the market. Amazon Fresh and Global Food each committed to at least 40,000 square feet, both marking their entry into the metro. Additionally, At Home agreed to occupy 86,000 square feet of space, which was the second-largest retail lease signed in the past three years. Barring any additional setbacks from COVID-19 variants, retail fundamentals will continue to tighten in 2022. The return of more employees to offices this year will heighten foot traffic, aiding retailers reliant on midweek patronage. Furthermore, supply pressure will be minimal as completions remain below the historic average, with nearly two-thirds of the space slated for delivery already pre-leased. Incoming supply without tenants in tow should be well received, as the bulk of deliveries are in Baltimore City East, where vacancy is the lowest in the metro.