Vast scope of commercial real estate hard to imagine

By Roger Yohem
August 12, 2011

OK, so it’s a twisted spin of an old joke, but here goes: How many commercial business buildings does it take to serve Tucson’s 1 million residents?

The detailed answers are in the commercial real estate special section inside of this week’s Inside Tucson Business. The 2011 Mid-year Update also features guest opinions by real estate veterans Hank Amos, president and CEO of Tucson Realty & Trust, and commercial broker Gordon Wagner of Coldwell Banker.

You’ve probably heard the buzz surrounding the initiative called Imagine Greater Tucson. Well, the impact of commercial real estate is even more difficult to imagine. During the weeks we spent assembling the report, some of the numbers seemed beyond reality.

For instance, imagine:

• There are 2,460 industrial buildings in the Tucson market, totalling 38.8 million square feet. Of those, there are just 74 owner-occupied buildings controlling 2.5 million square feet of industrial space.

• There are 2,400 office buildings totalling 23.9 million square feet. Owner-occupied businesses have 58 of those office buildings totalling 1.6 million square feet of space.

• Retail is Tucson’s largest commercial real estate segment with 51 million square feet in 5,236 buildings and 533 retail centers. The shopping center subsector has the most space at 22.5 million square feet at 511 sites. The general retail subsector was next at 20.1 million square feet in 3,801 buildings.

Before answering the question, special thanks go to CoStar Group and the commercial real estate people who helped provide data for the report – Barbi Reuter, PICOR Commercial Real Estate Services; Katherine Haug, CB Richard Ellis; and Beverly Liby, Tucson Realty & Trust.

So how many commercial business buildings does it take to serve Tucson’s 1 million residents?

It takes 10,629 business buildings and 113.7 million square feet of commercial space to serve the region. And that doesn’t include the apartment/multi-family sector. We’ll save that for later.

Contact reporter Roger Yohem at [email protected] or (520) 295-4254.

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