The state of retail and office rental markets

Posted on June 29, 2018

This will summarize any hard data I can find on Fairfax County and Vienna vacancy rates and rental rates for retail and office space.

In an nutshell, the market for office space in Fairfax is dismal.  Average vacancy rates are about 17 percent.  In the Town of Vienna, there are numerous large office spaces vacant, and an informal look at commercial listing shows office space rents are about half of retail space rents.

By eye, I don’t think the retail market is Vienna looks too bad, but I have yet to find hard data.  As near as I can tell, all of the strip shopping centers on the south side of the road are doing well — recent facelifts, and no or minimal unrented space.  The recent closure of Rite Aid occurred because Walgreens bought the company, not because the store was doing badly — i.e., hundreds of Rite-Aids across the country have been closed in the past few months.

I see several new restaurants, including a ramen shop.  There’s a new fitness space where (I believe) Clawes carpets and a mattress store used to be.  Sweet City has vacated those premises.   These things strike me as being the effects of normal retail turnover.

I will do a more formal survey, but my take on it is that there is no crisis in the state of retail in Vienna.  Office rents — sure.  The office market has high vacancy rates all over this area.  Retail — I’m not yet seeing it.