ORANGE COUNTY, CA—According to local industry sources, Orange County is on the up and up. Class A retail product in high-traffic locations—urban and strong suburban markets—saw strong demand in 2011, and will continue to lead the market in 2012.

In addition, this year's rise in demand will be driven by necessity chains and grocers that are reconfiguring dark big-box and community center space, a trend that took shape shortly after the recession and will offset the need for new supply in 2012, explains Joseph Cesta, regional manager of the Newport Beach, CA office of Marcus & Millichap. He cites Sprouts Farmers Market as an example of a chain that is transforming a former Borders in Yorba Linda, adding to a string of retailers such as Whole Foods and Total Wine & More that will absorb sites elsewhere.

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