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CHICAGO-Specialty store vacancy in State Street/Wabash Avenue retail district is nearly twice the average for the entire market at 20.9%, but that is an improvement from the 24.6% level hit last year. In addition, Northern Realty Group, Ltd. reports in its annual survey that asking rental rates rose 5% to $38.82 per sf.

The State Street/Wabash Avenue specialty store vacancy rate compares to 7.1% for similar space along Michigan Avenue, according to Northern Realty Group. Including department store space, however, vacancy in the State Street/Wabash Avenue retail area fall nearly two percentage points to 7.3%. While condominium conversions are bringing new customers to Downtown, the retailers themselves deserve some of the credit for the retail market’s strength, says Northern Realty Group executive vice president Michael Shields.

“With stores such as H&M, Forever 21 and Old Navy now broadening the street’s appeal beyond the traditional department store customer to a younger, hipper demographic, the energy of State Street simply cannot be denied,” Shields says.

Northern Realty Group tracks retail activity along State Street and Wabash Avenue between Wacker Drive and Congress Parkway.

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