Commercial real estate industry seeing increase

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Those who’ve been trying to buy a home during the pandemic knows it seems like everyone is trying to do the same, but what about commercial real estate?

Many of the industries that use those spaces were hit hard during the pandemic, but it seems commercial real estate is seeing a bit of its own boom in Central Kentucky.

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Al Isaac, president of commercial real estate agency NAI Isaac in Lexington, said he saw an increase in commercial real estate purchases in 2020 and he doesn’t see the momentum fading.

“It really did gather a lot of steam and so by the end of the year, business activity was actually pretty strong,” Isaac said. “The fact that interest rates were really low encouraged people that we’re going to get through this and if I take advantage of these low interest rates now, I’m going to be in better position once we do come out of this.”

Agave and Rye is one of those businesses taking advantage of the opportunity.

“Our next move is actually to go to downtown to be around that traction and to be around that quantity of people to go ahead and believe in the brand that we do,” Dining Room Manager Nicholas Johnson said.

The popular taco shop has one location in Lexington – in the Fayette Mall parking lot. However, just next door, there are two vacant businesses.

Isaac says that might be the case for a while, but before the end of 2021, he expects to see those vacancies decrease – though it may not be in retail.

“We’re going to see an increase in office space demand because I think we’ll be far enough past the worst effects of COVID and people can then see how they need to operate to go forward,” Isaac said.

Though the hospitality industry has been hard hit, Isaac said the vacancy rate didn’t dramatically increase from one year to the next. In fact, he sees new restaurants popping up nearly every day.

Johnson said he’s thankful to have weathered the storm.

“This is one we all went through together, and if we can make it, don’t ever give up,” Johnson said.

“One of the roles that I think everyone in the company needed to play over the last 12 months is supportive and cheerleading,” Isaac said.

And he said he’s happy to see local businesses win.

Isaac said office spaces and the industrial industry stayed pretty consistent in vacancies over the past year. He added that rent prices haven’t changed much either.