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Report: Local Businesses Help Boost Retail Numbers

Local small business owners are taking advantage of lower retail rents, helping the Baltimore market slowly recover from the recession.

That is according to MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate's retail report for the first quarter of 2011. The greater Baltimore region had an overall retail vacancy rate of 6.3 percent, down from 7.1 percent a year ago.

Several of new businesses to open were restaurants, including Black Olive Agora, Mari Luna Bistro and Ooh La La Cupcakery.

Vacancy rates varied by region, according to the report. Carroll County had the lowest rate, at 4.8 percent. Parts of Baltimore City had vacancy rates around 10 percent.

Retail rents dropped nearly $2 per square foot, to $17.62, compared with a year ago as landlords continued to make concessions to fill empty storefronts.

"The activity for independent businesses is on the uptick," says John Schultz, MacKenzie's senior real estate advisor. "I just hope it leads to actual deals being made" in the future.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: John Schultz, MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate
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