Metro Milwaukee commercial real estate market cools

But absorption remains positive

Milwaukee Riverfront Skyline

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:57 pm

The office and industrial real estate markets in the Milwaukee area posted lower amounts of absorption, year-over-year, during the first quarter, but remained positive, according to the first quarter market report from the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin and Xceligent.


The metro Milwaukee office market absorbed 20,529 square feet of space during the first quarter, down considerably from more than 300,000 square feet of space a year ago. However, the vacancy rate dipped from 17.4 percent a year ago to 16.7 percent.

There are a handful of office building projects under construction in Milwaukee, with a total of 283,000 square feet of space, and additional office building projects with more than 525,000 square feet of space are planned for the next two years.

The metro Milwaukee industrial real estate market absorbed 445,620 square feet of space during the first quarter, down considerably from 1.6 million square feet during the first quarter of 2016. The vacancy rate increased from 4.1 percent a year ago to 4.3 percent.

Construction remains brisk in the area’s industrial market, with more than 2.2 million square feet of industrial space currently under construction.

Unlike the office and industrial markets, the area’s retail market performed better than a year ago, absorbing 131,383 square feet of space during the first quarter, up from 61,407 square feet of space during the first quarter of 2016. The vacancy rate dipped from 8.0 percent a year ago to 7.8 percent.

Several new retail developments were under construction during the first quarter, including The Corners of Brookfield and 84South in Greenfield.

In recent years 350,000 square feet of retail space in the area has been repurposed to other uses, according to the report.

Read more economic data reports at the BizTracker page.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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