Raleigh Retail Market Report
Billion-Dollar Investments Catalyze Retail Leasing;
I-95 Shoppers Cue Johnston County Development
Large-scale expansions spark leasing demand surge. Raleigh's retail sector is on the upswing, with strong private sector investment stoking demand tailwinds for vendors. Entering the second quarter of 2021, retail availability had lifted to a five-year high at 4.3 percent. This was just before Apple and Eli Lilly announced billion-dollar investments to expand corporate operations into the metro in April of last year, enticing vendors into absorbing a record-high 2 million square feet on a net basis during the 15-month span ending in June. This surge helped pull vacancy down to 3.1 percent, the lowest rate among major markets east of the Mississippi. Looking forward, this downward momentum should continue into the near term, with retailers rapidly committing to active projects and limiting the speculative pipeline. The mixed-use Eastfield Crossing development in Selma, for example, has already been committed to by seven national retailers, including Hobby Lobby and Burlington.