Las Vegas commercial real estate sectors looking up

An improving economy boosted Southern Nevada’s commercial real estate markets in the first quarter.

A new report from commercial brokerage Avison Young shows improvements in the industrial, office and retail sectors, and gives a few key trends to look for.

Start with industrial vacancies, which fell to 11.1 percent in the first quarter, down from 12 percent in the same quarter a year earlier. North Las Vegas was especially hot: The submarket posted the most industrial sales and the third-largest number of leases in the past year. That could push up rents and spark new speculative building in the area.

Expect lease rates to slowly rise marketwide through 2014 as leasing activity picks up, and look for a lack of available land to push developers outside of the metropolitan area.

On the office side, vacancies ticked up from 19.5 percent to 20 percent year over year in the first quarter. The biggest jump came in the southwest, where more than 150,000 square feet — most of it in chunks of less than 10,000 square feet — came on the market.

Expect office vacancies to decline and lease rates to rise as the local economy continues to improve in 2014, the study said.

Little changed in retail vacancy, which has hovered around 10 percent since the fourth quarter of 2012. In this subsector, job growth is vital, because consumer spending dictates development. And job growth is a positive story, with Nevada’s creation rate ranking in the nation’s top two in January, February and March.

Improving demand for space means rents have stabilized, and landlords are getting choosier. Occupancy in highly visible, well-anchored shopping centers is rising quickly.

The big story in retail is the ongoing construction of 2.5 million square feet of space marketwide, most of it in the 1.6 million-square-foot Shops at Summerlin on the west side. But developers are in the market for still more land — a search that’s ever tougher with homebuilders buying land and banking it for future development to avoid higher prices later.

Also, the report noted a “significant increase” in inquiries from tenants who want to open medical marijuana dispensaries, which became legal in Nevada on April 1, and vapor shops, where consumers can buy e-cigarettes and other products designed to wean them off of cigarettes.

■ Commercial Alliance Las Vegas, the commercial real estate arm of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, will host its annual spring networking mixer May 8.

The event is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Cili inside the Bali Hai Golf Club.

Admission is $20 for members of the Realtors’ association, as well as members of sponsors and partners including the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, the Institute of Real Estate Management, Commercial Real Estate Women, Certified Commercial Investment Member and Commercial Marketing Group. It’s $35 for nonmembers.

Alliance President Hayim Mizrachi said the mixer is one of the group’s best-attended events, and “is a great way for Commercial Alliance Las Vegas to meet its mission of uniting the commercial real estate industry in Southern Nevada.”

■ The Southern Nevada Home Builders Association is on a mission to persuade real estate sales agents to buy new.

The trade group, in partnership with Alpine Mortgage Planning and the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, has launched its “New Home Training and Tour Series.”

Instructors will talk over continental breakfast about selling new homes, builder terminology and new master plans and subdivisions. After class, students will take a bus tour with a box lunch.

The first classes are scheduled for May 14 and May 21 inside Alpine’s offices at 8363 W. Sunset Road. The program will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Nat Hodgson, executive director of the builders’ association, said Realtors are involved in almost nine out of 10 home purchases, and the program “is going to raise the bar for new-home sales education.”

■ Brokers with Colliers International closed on two big, recent sales.

Grant Traub and Chris Connell represented West Flamingo Road LLC in its $4.2 million sale of an 80,000-square-foot retail and self-storage building at 9227 W. Flamingo Road. Ryan Howse of Preston Matthews Real Estate Services represented the buyer.

Also, Scott Gragson and Robert Torres represented GKT Acquisitions in its $2.5 million purchase of 35 vacant acres at the southwest corner of Larson Lane and Rancho Destino Road.

■ Brokers in the Las Vegas office of Sun Commercial Real Estate helped complete two major leases.

Cathy Jones, Paul Miachika, Jessica Beall, Roy Fritz and Cash Jordan represented tenant Good Night Pediatrics in its 88-month lease for 4,446 square feet of space at 861 N. Higley Road in Gilbert, Ariz. The deal was valued at more than $606,000. Whitestone REIT is the landlord.

And Edward Bassford represented the Nevada System of Higher Education on behalf of the College of Southern Nevada in its 36-month lease of 26,165 square feet of industrial space at 2925 Lincoln Road. The landlord in the $276,826 deal is CW &AC Enterprises Ltd.

■ Local residential real estate veteran Donna Ruthe has taken the helm of a local nonprofit’s board of directors.

Ruthe was named president of the board of the Solutions Foundation, a philanthropy that focuses on substance-abuse awareness, education and assistance.

The organization has reached more than 10,000 children through its distribution of opiate-awareness handbooks, manuals and prevention training.

Ruthe, who’s practiced in the Las Vegas real estate industry since 1981, is broker-owner of Today’s Realty.

Ruthe said in a statement that there’s “a huge need” for substance-abuse prevention programs in Southern Nevada.

“Substance abuse affects all of us, and proper education helps people make better decisions,” she said.

Ruthe has also volunteered on behalf of the Nevada Medical Examiner’s Board, Opportunity Village, Ronald McDonald House, American Diabetes Association and Candlelighters for Childhood Cancer.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at or 702-380-4512. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.

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