Kacey Brankamp is a matchmaker for retailers looking for space downtown, but now she’s expanding her abilities to pair businesses with their ideal office space.
After receiving several requests for good office spots, Brankamp expanded in to new territory earlier this year. Most downtown retail spaces have offices above them, giving her a strong sense of several spots that are already available. She’s proving her matchmaking abilities translate. Her efforts have brought some new businesses in to downtown and helped others move across town.
While there is more readily accessible information on office spaces downtown, there are still those hidden gems that are hard to find. Brankamp says that downtown offers the largest variety of office space options. There are historic buildings with character, warehouses, traditional Class A spaces and more modern offices.
“You might be surprised at what you can get for your budget,” she says. Rates run anywhere from $6 to $8 per square-foot, up to $35 per square-foot, with the average at slightly over $15.
“Startup businesses can find small, affordable space downtown,” she says.
Brankamp sees a slight uptick in rates over the last few quarters, but says this is a good sign that leasing is strong and healthy. Vacancy rates sit at only about 17%.
Between office and retail spaces, Brankamp says things are coming together from a lot of standpoints. Downtown Columbus is right on the cusp of seeing change.
On the retail front she says, “The biggest challenge is affordable, ready to lease space, clustered in a location with demand.” The demand for goods and services is there, as are the people who want to be downtown, but the ideal space is lacking.
New residential construction on South High Street will bring retail space on the first floor of several buildings between State and Main Streets, and Brankamp is optimistic this area will provide an affordable cluster of space for retailers.
The new space will obviously bring new residents, the coveted consumer for retail businesses in any area. There are several overlapping consumer markets downtown including, office workers, residents, students and visitors. But, residents spend about six times as much in their neighborhood as an office worker.
Brankamp continues to build relationships with independent retailers to bring them to the downtown market. Independent companies are an ideal tenant for the current landscape downtown as they are more nimble with expansions and more likely to take calculated risks in an unproven market.
Photo by Walker Evans.