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Commercial real estate slows down

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By John Foster

 Realtors marketing commercial property in Oldham County say the sluggish economy means leasing empty space takes longer. But there’s still plenty of interest.

About 75 industrial or commercial properties are available, according to the Ky. Commercial Real Estate Alliance’s listing service. Stephanie Gilezan, principal broker of Gilezan Realty, has a few available spaces. She said since Jan. 2008, she leased 26,000 square feet of her office building on U.S. 42 in front of Hillcrest subdivision. She still has about 10,000 square feet available. There is an insurance office, a dentist, a yoga studio and others. A financial advisor relocated from Middletown to get a break from Jefferson County’s occupational tax, she said. Sure, leasing the space would have been quicker if the economy was snappier, but “in this economy that’s supposed to be so bad, we’re actually doing pretty decent,” she said. Developer Fred Bennett said he’s had a lot of interest in his retail development on Crystal Drive in La Grange across from Cracker Barrel and The BANK–Oldham County. So far, that interest has only translated into one tenant – Apex Physical Therapy – which is set to open for business soon.  Bennett planned to open his retail center prior to November, but drainage problems stalled construction for months. Still, he said he’s hopeful that the economy will start to turn around this summer, he said. If so, he’ll be in good position to capitalize on business owners wanting to take advantage of the upturn. Commercial Realtor Paul Grisanti has several available properties in Oldham County, including a retail building on Ky. 329. He said they’re close to filling the retail center with tenants, but not as quickly as expected. On the bright side, getting help is easy and cheap right now. When the real estate market was so overheated, sometimes it was difficult to find a builder to work on his projects.  Now they need the work and are willing to bid a little cheaper, Grisanti said. “There’s a silver lining to everything,” he said.