DENVER-Investments in the Denver-area commercial real estate market are slowing. That’s the conclusion of Patrick T. Devereaux, associate director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Denver office.

Devereaux projects that only $782 million in office, industrial and retail projects will sell this year. That would mark almost a 36% drop from the $1.2 billion sold last year and the worst year in sales since 1995, when only $575 million in properties of more than $1 million in value sold. It also would be the first time since 1997 that sales hadn’t topped $1 billion.

Devereaux says that private capital, such as syndicators, wealthy individuals and those doing tax-deferred 1031 exchanges continue to be active buyers, but institutional investors, such as insurance companies and pension fund advisors, are not.

Retail is hot, he says, adding grocery-anchored retail centers are especially sought after.

“People will continue to shop in grocery stores no matter what the economy is doing,” Devereaux tells

Industrial also is popular with investors, he says.

“But most industrial owners aren’t sellers,” Devereaux says. “They tend to be long-term holders.”

Investors, he says, are focusing on quality construction and core location. They would rather pay extra for a better location and better construction, he says.

Investors also are looking toward capital preservation as opposed to upside potential, in today’s volatile market.

He says that lending markets are active, but there’s less competition by lenders for deals. And the supply of product on the market is increasing, but not many deals are closing, he adds.

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