Each year the Business Journal turns to leading commercial real estate professionals across the North Bay to share their data and insights on the state of the markets and the outlook for the year. We want to say thank you again for their time and willingness to share their knowledge.---The Business JournalNorth Bay properties can draw northward migration of Bay Area creativityRegion can tap creative energy; BEST effort has potential

By Al Coppin, president, Keegan & Coppin, Co., Inc./ONCOR International

The projected growth of the national economy looks sluggish at best. Previously forecasted gross national product growth of 2.5 percent is expected to be shaved to fairly bleak growth of 1.0 percent to 1.5 percent. You can’t reduce unemployment without at least 3.5 percent growth. [read more]San Rafael, Novato most-active Marin office markets

By Haden Ongaro, Cornish & Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank

Despite 220,000 square feet of user-controlled inventory added to the market in Novato and San Rafael in 2012, net absorption of office space for the year was 46,000 square feet. For the Marin market as a whole, net absorption was slightly negative. [read more]Balance tips to owners in southern Marin

By Whitney Strotz, Cassidy Turley

The balance of power in the office market in southern and central Marin County continues to move in favor of landlords. [read more]Downtown Napa energy attracts Gen Y retailersArrival of ‘soft goods’ fills in retail mix

By Cathy D'Angelo Holmes, Coldwell Banker Commercial Brokers of the Valley

Drive along First Street in downtown Napa, and you might find yourself saying, “It looks like ‘they’ haven’t done a thing in the last year.”

That is so not true. In mid-2012, Napa Town Center was purchased by developer Todd Zapolski, who has renamed it The Shops at Town Center. A name change was the easy part. Reformatting 150,000 square feet and adding a new hotel is no small task in the world of retail development. [read more]Santa Rosa office space demand ‘modest’Rent for highest-class space climbs as options dwindleBy Dave Peterson, Keegan & Coppin Co. Inc./ONCOR International

The Santa Rosa office market continues to be challenging for property owners with vacancies. The vacancy rates for the fourth quarter of 2012 was 16.8 percent for Santa Rosa up slightly from 16.6 percent a year ago. [read more]Sonoma County multifamily rents, sales rebound

By Scott Gerber, Cassidy Turley

What started as a fairly benign Sonoma County multifamily income property market recovery turned into a full-blown juggernaut, as 2012 closed with a surge in sales and rental prices. [read more]Large leases, sales tighten Napa, Solano industrial market

By Glen Dowling, Matt Bracco & Chris Neeb, Cushman & Wakefield

Industrial real estate of Solano and Napa counties showed significant improvement in 2012 over 2011, as several significant leases were completed and some significant buildings sold. The overall industrial vacancy rate in Napa and Solano counties dropped for the seventh consecutive quarter at the end of 2012. [read more]Petaluma commercial property at ‘turning point’

By James Manley, Keegan & Coppin Co. Inc./ONCOR International

The economy continues to recover slowly, but we are experiencing positive growth in Petaluma. 2012 was a critical year. It appears to have been a turning point for Petaluma commercial real estate. [read more]North Bay retail market challenged by low vacancyBy Garrick Brown, national research director, Terranomics/ChainLinks Retail Advisors, a division of Cassidy Turley

As of the close of 2012, North Bay shopping center vacancy was just 4.9 percent. While up from the 4.7 percent at the end of the third quarter, it still is one of the Bay Area’s lowest vacancy rates. Strangely, the North Bay’s low vacancy rate — not the economy — is the biggest challenge to North Bay retail property. [read more]Marin apartments shift to a seller’s market

By Katherine Higgins, Bradley Commercial Real Estate

Marin County apartment sales in 2012 turned from a buyer’s market at the beginning of the year to a strong seller’s market as inventory dropped and prices shot up. [read more]Benicia attracts new business in 2012

The year 2012 has shown steady signs of economic recovery for the city of Benicia, according to Mario Giuliani, city economic development manager. [read more]