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More space, more vacancy: As Uptown offices are converted to retail use, ‘opportunities’ abound (access required)

By Bea Quirk Even in a down economy, rising vacancy rates don’t necessarily mean a weakening market. The retail market in uptown Charlotte is a perfect example. In the first quarter, the center city vacancy rate rose to 12 percent, up from 6.9 percent in the last quarter of 2009. At the same time, the overall vacancy rate dropped to 9.6 percent, down from 10.5 percent at the end of last year. Rates are compiled by CB Richard Ellis. But while inventory was shrinking in other parts of the city as retail space was demolished or otherwise taken off the market, the uptown inventory was growing. “The uptown market isn’t getting weaker – it’s actually healthy,” said Stephanie Moore, a CBRE retail broker.

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