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WINSTON—SALEM, NC-The retail vacancy factor in this high-tech development hub is soaring. Vacancies are at 13%, up from 9% four years ago at 40 neighborhood and community shopping centers representing four million sf, according to a new survey by Michael S. Clapp & Associates. Winston-Salem is 80 miles northeast of Downtown Charlotte.

Clapp’s commercial appraiser Paul Carter says the departure of certain stores to larger sites that provide the convenience of drive-through service is a factor in the climbing vacancy level. He says the departures have opened up “deep spaces” in shopping centers that are often difficult to subdivide to suit smaller tenants.

The semi-annual report excludes anchor stores and those with the highest and lowest rents. The survey represents about 75% of all neighorhood shopping centers anchored by a supermarket in Winston-Salem. The average vacancy rate in the north and east is about 20%, with an average asking rent rate of about $10 per sf.

Other shopping centers in this submarket have an average vacancy rate of about 30%. The southwest submarket has the lowest vacancy rate at about 8%. Two shopping centers in the northwest area are 40% and 60% vacant. Well-located centers have fewer problems finding tenants, the report says..

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