By Maureen Werther
Saratoga County is one of the fastest growing counties in New York state and the commercial real estate market is more than holding its own, according to local real estate agents.
Commercial real estate markets, like other markets, tend to be cyclical in nature. One of the challenges for businesses looking for a prime location is making sure they can access skilled workers.
“We are seeing business across all the service sectors. They are never going away … Food service businesses, hair and nail salons, spa and massage studios. We also have a lot of medical companies going into retail spaces, such as urgent care facilities,” said Alex Kutikov, principal, broker and partner of RedMark Realty in Clifton Park.
He has worked in the commercial real estate brokerage industry since 2003. During his tenure he has successfully brokered lease and sale transactions in excess of $200 million. He has worked with multiple national chains including CVS, Burger King, Mobil Exxon, Dollar Tree, Game Stop and various national grocery chains.
He said service-based businesses are replacing goods and merchandise retailers. There is still demand, but it is for smaller prototypes.
Kutikov used the example of Nordstrom Rack, a fashion retailer owned by Nordstrom with both brick and mortar stores and an e-commerce website.
As opposed to a larger Nordstrom’s department store., “Nordstrom Rack occupies lower square footage.” Other stores, like Fashion Bug, that used to occupy 10,000 square feet are disappearing. “Now we are seeing more specialized and locally-based stores, and shoppers are going there more for the experience,” he said.
Kutikov agreed that bricks and mortar still do what the Internet cannot do, which is provide a good customer service experience. At the same time, stores are becoming more specialized to appeal to customers.
He said commercial real estate growth has not slowed down in Saratoga County. RedMark currently represents several office and warehouse spaces.
Kutikov said the market is not going to go on forever at its current pace; however, he stressed that Saratoga County continues to be a desirable place to live and to do business, something that positively impacts all segments of the commercial market.
Julie Bonacio, owner of Julie and Co. Realty, LLC in Saratoga Springs, has been involved in both commercial and residential real estate. She said her boutique firm offers the full gamut of real estate services and the business is thriving.
“On the commercial side we have six active agents,” she said.
She said the big box spaces are giving way to smaller retail spaces ranging in size from 1,500 to 1,800 square feet, which he called the “sweet spot” in terms of optimal size for retailers and service businesses.
She said they are seeing more interest in commercial developers transforming large retail locations into “beehives,” otherwise known as shared work spaces.
“We currently have a couple of clients who are looking for that type of commercial space and they see it as a great investment,” she said.