Friday, June 8, 2007

Told you so.

Someone had to say it. The news is just relentless confirmation of what many of us naysayers were saying a year or two ago. Rising interest rates, falling prices, rising inventories, slower retail sales, higher gas prices, etc. etc. Everyday a new story.

Here's the thing that has to be said, though. This is just the beginning. The 300 pound bully has thrown you to the ground. But you're not going to be able to just get up, dust yourself off, and say, "I get your point." No, the 300 pound bully is intent on beating the crap out of you.

It's a slow moving trainwreck, and the first car has just jumped the track, but all the trailing cars don't know it yet, and in the caboose they're having a party. On the side of the tracks, witnesses have heard a screeching brake, but aren't really paying attention.

My job as a downtown retailer will be to dodge the flying debris for as long as possible, to cater to that party, and then dig a hole and wait for it to be over. The commercial side of the equation is still stoking the boilers, raising rents, building new office buildings. Full speed ahead. So I'll make a prediction right now. Everything the bubble bloggers were saying about domestic real estate can be applied toward commercial real estate, just a year or two later.

It will be slow and unnoticeable at first. But, I'll be surprised if in two years I won't be able to look at the commercial aspect and say;

Told you so.

Edited to add:

It probably behooves me to talk about the Kuishinbo Kitchen article in the paper today. I have several reactions.

First is, whenever a new landlord says, "We aren't planning on any changes," Run, don't walk, to the exits.

Second, retailers are for reasons I do and do not understand, very fuzzy about the details of their lease. I was given to understand that everyone in that building had fairly long leases. Thus, I thought when the Double Happiness restaurant had to leave, it was a power-play on the part of the new landlords.

Third, the question of why the landlord wouldn't just raise the rent without fixing the place up. Well and good that they talk about renovating so that can charge more, but in my experience, if they can charge more WITHOUT spending money, that's what they'll do.

Fourth, damn, some people have been getting cheap rent! 1.00 a ft? .82 a ft? I haven't paid those rates for a decade, and believe me my building is just as old behind the facade.

Fifth, I hope that Sukmi Douglass finds a great location, and prospers. Success is the best revenge.

No comments: