[caption id="attachment_19258" align="alignleft" width="235" caption="Mike Flitner"][/caption]

The Rohnert Park-Cotati market remained fairly stable in 2009 despite trying economic times.

The industrial vacancy rose slightly from 9.0 percent in 2008 to 12.4 percent in 2009. Retail vacancies were up again in 2009, rising to 12 percent from 6.5 percent in 2008. The office vacancy rate was relatively stable. The numbers are difficult to compare to 2008 due to significant square footage that was dropped from previous years’ calculations. The space was unleasable mezzanine area at Sonoma Mountain Village that was previously included as office space.

Sonoma Mountain Village continued to generate activity as DC Power relocated to the campus from Healdsburg. DC Power leased 15,000 square feet of office space and 30,000 square feet of industrial space in one of the year’s signature lease transactions. There was also notable leasing activity at 6595 Commerce Blvd., a building that was recently upgraded with Goodwill Industries leasing 15,715 square feet of retail space in the 50,000-square-foot complex. Driven Raceway leased 35,000 square feet (the former Linens N Things space) in Wal-Mart Plaza, another significant lease for Rohnert Park.

There were several owner/user sales in the industrial market, a significant development in a year when sales were sparse. The largest sale was the sale of 412 Houser St. in Cotati, a 23,592 square-foot building that sold to Outdoor Pro Shop, which relocated from the Raley’s Town Center. Outdoor Pro Shop doubled the size of its previous facility in the move.

Another owner/user sale was the sale of 5801 Redwood Drive, a 20,000-square-foot industrial building located near the Rohnert Park Costco. The building was partially leased and sold to a carpet company that will use the majority of the space. The sale of the 6,912 square-foot building located at 501 Aaron St. was another owner/user sale. The price ranges for the sales ranged from a low of $73 per square foot to a high of $159.

Last year was one of adjustment as landlords and tenants weathered the economic storm that began in September 2008. For the Rohnert Park-Cotati market this meant a relatively slight rise in vacancy rates, coupled with declines in rental rates and sale prices.

Rental rates were pushed down 10 percent to 25 percent depending on product type and location, and sale prices dropped proportionately. Industrial buildings were generally selling in the $75 to $100 per square foot range, with the highest price per square foot being $159 for an owner/user purchase.

Looking forward, owners will be seeking to fill vacancies and/or secure existing tenants with new leases and stabilize their properties as tenants seek rent reductions or other concessions, such as tenant improvements or free rent, to reflect the new market realities and keep their businesses financially viable.