LCSN: Commercial space: Is there too much? Not enough?

May 9, 2011. Retrieved online May 9, 2011 from Brook Stockberger, Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES – As you drive around Las Cruces, you notice a lot of commercial space, with more under construction. But there appear to be many vacancies too.

That brings up the question: Is there too much, just enough, or not enough pre-exisiting commercial space at the moment in Las Cruces? More national and regional chain stores and restaurants have announced projects in Las Cruces, but some of those are, or plan to, construct their own buildings.

“There is considerable vacant space in town right now, but it may not be suitable for those looking to locate here,” said Chris Erickson, who teaches economics at New Mexico State University. “For example, there is a shortage of large industrial facilities but there appears to be plenty of retail space.”

Fellow NMSU economist Jim Peach said you cannot assume there is no need for new space just because there are vacancies.

“Office space is highly location specific,” Peach said. “Office space is also highly specific to particular professions – doctors tend to cluster as do lawyers and other professionals.

“Office space is also not homogeneous, that is some office space is deliberately high dollar and high quality, while other office space is not,” Peach said. “Increasingly office space is differentiated by the services that are offered; some office buildings offer almost complete office management services, others a common copy room, etc.”

“The need to build depends on the type of space needed,” Erickson said. “Health care is an industry that continued to grow locally through the recession without missing a beat. It is the mismatch between need and availability that is driving construction.”

Read the Las Cruces Sun-News article.

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