Partnership launches commercial real estate market report

Partnership launches commercial real estate market report

By Steve Jagler, of SBT

Measuring the pulse of the Milwaukee area’s commercial real estate market is about to get a lot easier.

The first Southeastern Wisconsin Commercial Real Estate Report has been completed, documenting the state of the market in the third and fourth quarters of 2002.

The report for the first quarter of 2003 is forthcoming, and the report will be completed quarterly on an ongoing basis, according to Mark Eppli, Marquette University’s Robert Bernard Bell Sr. chair in real estate in the school’s Department of Finance.

The initial reports have been compiled by Marquette interns Jonathan Mulcahy and John Amman, who were assigned to the project by Eppli.

The detailed report is a product of the Wisconsin Commercial Data Exchange (WCDE), which was formed in June 2002. The WCDE research director is Brian Parrish, and its market analyst is Thomas Makarewicz.

The WCDE is partnering with the Marquette University Real Estate Program and The Business Journal’s Commercial Real Estate Quarterly for the report.

The report is being offered by the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin (CARW), a nonprofit association of more than 525 members from various commercial industries.

The report condenses information from 215 commercial real estate brokers from about 50 local companies.

Each quarterly report will provide market statistics, investor survey results, market forecasts and other information about the commercial real estate markets in eight counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Walworth, Washington, Ozaukee and Sheboygan.

The report also breaks down the information by submarkets within the counties.

In addition, the report provides information on comparable sales, lease rates, sublease rates and investor surveys.

In its first edition, the report noted the following vacancy rates for the eight-county region: industrial, 5.9%; office, 10.4%; shopping center retail, 3.7%; and freestanding retail, 3.4%.

In Milwaukee County, the report indicated the following vacancy rates: industrial, 7.9%; office, 11.4%; shopping center retail, 4.9%; and freestanding retail, 4.4%.

The highest vacancy rates in southeastern Wisconsin, according to the report, are: industrial, 7.9% in Milwaukee County; office, 12.1% in Waukesha County; shopping center retail, 11.1% in Ozaukee County; and freestanding retail, 15.1% in Walworth County.

Trends noted in the survey include:

— The average industrial lease rates in Waukesha County are consistently higher than the rates in Milwaukee County.

— Class A office lease rates in Milwaukee County are consistently higher than those in the surrounding counties.

— Retail lease rates in Waukesha County are higher than those in Milwaukee County.

The decision by the CARW board of directors to create a commercial information exchange system that produced the data for the report was applauded by Christopher Ruditys, executive vice president of the organization.

"That choice hopefully will prove to be the biggest asset for the commercial real estate industry in Wisconsin since Juneau and Kilbourn first plotted the streets for what eventually became downtown Milwaukee," Ruditys stated in the first report.

Ruditys predicted the CARW will expand from southeastern Wisconsin to cover the entire state by the end of 2003.

He also predicted the organization will form its first political action committee (PAC) to amplify the voice of the state’s real estate industry.

Further information about the report is available by contacting CARW at (414) 271-2021.

Jan. 24, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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