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Solon Gershman: Commercial sectors rebounding in St. Louis ... just not quickly enough

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Three recent market reports from St. Louis' Solon Gershman Commercial Real Estate paint a picture of a recovering St. Louis area, just one that's not recovering quickly enough.

Three recent market reports from St. Louis' Solon Gershman Commercial Real Estate paint a picture of a recovering St. Louis area, just one that's not recovering quickly enough.

According to Solon Gershman, the area's industrial and retail vacancy rates fell during the first quarter of this year. The area's office vacancy rate, though, ticked up a bit.

This makes St. Louis not unlike many markets in the Midwest: Commercial real estate activity is increasing, but the pace of this recovery is frustratingly slow.

Consider the retail market here. According to Solon Gershman, the retail vacancy rate in the St. Louis market fell to 8.1 percent at the end of the first quarter. Unfortunately, that's just a small drop from the 8.2 percent vacancy rate in this sector at the end of the fourth quarter last year.

The area's office vacancy rate actually increased, jumping to 20.2 percent at the end of the first quarter from 20.1 percent at then end of the fourth quarter of 2012.

The industrial market followed a similar path, falling to 8.1 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2013. That's improvement, but it's still a fairly small decline from this sector's 8.4 percent vacancy rate at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. Rental rates in this sector fell, too, dropping to $3.95 a square foot at the end of the fourth quarter compared with $4 a square foot at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012.