The commercial real estate market in and around Saratoga County is doing well, local real estate agents say.
For the most part local trends are a reflection of what is going on in the national market, with apartment construction continuing to lead the way. The national market saw little growth in the hotel and office sectors. But the Saratoga County market seems to be faring somewhat better.
Janet Besheer, owner of Equitas Realty, said there is a fair amount of commercial property available in and around town. While the market has been consistent, it is not “through the roof.” She sees restaurants moving to different locations, as well as a lot of different types of eateries looking for good spaces.
Besheer said the area is becoming saturated with apartments. The increase has caused an influx of new, delivery-based businesses to service the new renters.
The other advantage of the increase in apartment development is the diversity of people who are moving into the area. From retirees to millennials, moving into urban areas with easy access to good restaurants, nightlife and cultural and educational events is becoming attractive.
“We’re creating little residential zones around the city, that are being supported by a growing infrastructure of service businesses and the same thing is happening in Glens Falls and Malta,” said Besheer.
“When this happens, new, interesting businesses gravitate to those areas, like micro-breweries, trendy eateries, and eclectic retail. That is why, when we talk about building a new parking garage in Saratoga, we shouldn’t be talking about building just a garage, but rather we should be looking at building multi-purpose spaces,” she said.
Apartments, retail businesses and industrial development all benefit from technology-driven economic shifts, something Saratoga County has been a part of.
“This area is really so cool. We’ve been trying to turn this region into tech valley for the past 25 years. When Global Foundries and the nano-technology industry came to this area, things began to change. And, now, this area is ranked third in the country for ‘tech valley’ jobs,” she said.
Another factor in commercial real estate is the burgeoning of commercial real estate technology companies. Clients are more savvy than ever before. According to Besheer, the average real estate client searches online for three to four months before ever going to a professional broker.
Richard Ferro, principal broker for Berkshire Hathaway Commercial Division, shares Besheer’s perspective about the future of our region and the evolution of commercial real estate.
The hospitality and entertainment/sports industries “are going to reign supreme in Saratoga,” said Ferro. “The city of Saratoga has gone from a bedroom community to a business community, which allows for a broader economic base, which includes both business and residential growth.”
Ferro said there will be anywhere from three to five more years of continued growth in the apartment sector.
“With high-end features like granite, stainless steel appliances, and all of the other amenities being included, apartments no longer represent a secondary lifestyle choice,” he said.
Ferro said the economy is based in technology and has a much broader base than just one company, like General Electric in Schenectady.
“We have businesses growing out of what’s happening at our local colleges and universities. And it’s not just nano technology that is driving more commercial development. It’s also the medical research sector,” said Ferro.
For Rick Eaglestone, vice president of leasing for DCG Development, commercial property management is the cornerstone of their company. He said the predominant industries are retail, professional office space and the service industries, with some uptick in the medical professions.
“While up until recently, the commercial leasing scene has been somewhat slow, the market has seen improvement and we are seeing an increase in leasing, particularly in the retail, service and warehouse sectors,” said Eaglestone.
Among the properties they manage are the recently completed Embassy Suites in Saratoga Springs, as well as the new Town Plaza, formerly the Clifton Corporate Park. DCG has changed that property to a mixed-use space, with four 25,000 square foot buildings and he anticipates a high occupancy rate.
Alan Oppenheim, principal with ACO Property Advisors in Saratoga Springs, is optimistic about the positive trends in Saratoga County and he feels that the growth in the region will continue.
“Location is more critical than ever before, and businesses that are more proximate to their customer base are ultimately going to be the most successful,” he said. “Communities like Ballston Spa will continue to benefit from the growth that is happening.”