August 10, 2010

Commercial real estate hangovers

As I drive around Tompkins County, whether in downtown Ithaca, Triphammer Road, or along Route 13 in Dryden, I keep seeing "for rent" signs on commercial buildings. Some of that has to do with the economic downturn, some has to do with seasonality.

A lot of these buildings have been empty or marginal for years, maybe even decades. I'm pretty sure the empty Yellow Barn Commercial Park with its new big signs has been there for decades. I remember looking at the Prudential building on 13/366 back in 2001. Even Pyramid Mall - sorry, The Shops at Ithaca Mall - has felt weak for a long long time.

Does hope really spring eternal? Tompkins County certainly has more large retail than it used to, but lots of this space gets used only occasionally, if at all. People keep building more and more new places, but they don't all seem to find tenants. Even some that do find tenants - like the development on 13 that held Office Depot and Office Max and AAA and Hollywood Video - just can't hold tenants, and evolve to empty.

The Dryden Community Center Cafe has made the four corners area in Dryden a much more frequent destination for me, but the area still hasn't recovered from the departures of a few years ago.

As Dryden ponders zoning, let's try to remember that we - and the surrounding area - aren't actually using all we have particularly efficiently.

Posted by simon at August 10, 2010 5:20 PM in ,
Note on photos