Midwest Real Estate News recently interviewed Max Rasansky, managing director of the Milwaukee office of CB Richard Ellis, for his thoughts on the strength of the commercial real estate industry in his slice of Wisconsin.
Midwest Real Estate News: How is the commercial real estate market faring today in the Milwaukee region? Rasansky: We are holding our own overall. We definitely saw an uptick in our business in the fourth quarter of 2010. We had a strong fourth quarter last year, particularly in November and December, among all sectors: retail, office properties, industrial. That is very important. It’s a strong indicator of the future health of our business. And I’d like to emphasis that we had a strong quarter on the investment end, too. We had very strong investment sales in our fourth quarter. We are seeing cap rates improving. There is very strong demand for the typical free-standing 15- or 20-year credit leases, whether for food stores or department stores or other types of businesses.
MWREN: How about in the industrial sector. That’s an important market sector for Milwaukee. Rasansky: I’m very encouraged by what is going on in our industrial sector. Being a Midwestern city, we are always looking at our industrial market. Our economy has often gone the way that our industrial sector has gone. In the fourth quarter of last year and in the first half of this year, we have seen a real uptick.
MWREN: How about in office? Rasansky: In office properties, certainly there are high vacancy rates, however there are major tenants that are looking at making a move in our market. It’s pretty well-publicized. There very well could be a new downtown office building here soon. All of this activity is good. Retail wise, our retail group had a very good year. That group had a strong fourth quarter, too. We are even starting to see more activity now with larger boxes. There is definitely activity in the marketplace. Our leasing group is very busy.
MWREN: Why do you think activity has gotten so much stronger lately? Rasansky: So much of our business is timing. The last two years have been very difficult. Now into 2011, we are seeing some good signs in our general economy. Retailers are still being cautious, but even they are starting to do some things. That is a good sign.