Study: Many commercial vacancies along FM 1960

January 26, 2011 4:44:45 PM PST
We are taking a look at efforts to bring more businesses to the FM 1960 area after a new report shows the area holds some of the highest vacancy rates for commercial property in Houston.

The Pappadeaux at FM 1960 and Kuykendahl just closed earlier this month. One more in a steady stream of businesses leaving this area. Most agree that it's an area in transition.

In the six years that TKO Sports has been in operation along FM 1960, they've seen a number of businesses come and go. They're among those who remain.

"Put it in God's hands man. Keep working through it. You gotta work," said Josh Godley of TKO Sports.

You can see plenty of evidence of vacancies -- building after building advertising commercial space for lease. Some who work in the area say it's just not what it once was.

"The area is getting bad, getting kinda run down over here," said Leslie Hughes, who works nearby.

According to a new report issued by Texas A&M's Real Estate Center, in 2010 the office vacancy rate along the 1960 corridor was over 25 percent. That's the highest in the Houston area overall. The average vacancy rate is just under 13 percent.

"All of the properties in this area are kind of in transition. This is a transition area," said Shannon Register of Register Real Estate Advisors.

Realtors like Register say there are a number of revitalization efforts underway, and that's what the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce says the report doesn't say.

"I don't think the report told the whole story," said Barbara Thomason of the Houston NW Chamber of Commerce.

Thomason says something as simple as adding greenery in the median will make a huge difference. Business and community leaders raised half a million dollars for that last year and work is now underway. The challenge, she says, is competition from new, upscale retail not far away.

"We have a lot of businesses and a lot of people that continue to move into this area, so it continues to grow," said Thomason.

The chamber also says its looking at new ways to make it more attractive for businesses to locate here. They are considering whether they can give tax breaks or provide other incentives.

You can read more on this story in The Champions Sun, one of our Houston Community Newspaper partners.