2010 Global Market Report: Corpus Christi

The Corpus Christi economy suffered slightly from the economic downturn. The petrochemical industry is down, resulting in a decline in the local economy. However, the refineries and related industries are expanding and upgrading in anticipation of the pending increase in oil and gas exploration. The Port of Corpus Christi is doubling in size to meet future demand.

The office market continues to lag behind the rest of the real estate market. Numerous national and regional companies have closed their offices and/or are downsizing. Office rents in Class A buildings have dropped enough to cause tenants from Class B and C buildings to consider moving up. It is anticipated that occupancies in Class Abuilding will remain the same while B and C will suffer from this migration.

The industrial market is down as a result of the decline in the petrochemical industry. Exploration and refining have slowed significantly over the last year and as a result, many service type buildings with yards came on the market. Large warehouse buildings are remaining vacant, especially the older dock high buildings.

Freestanding retail and strip centers are doing well. Large buildings have been filled with only two, large, vacant buildings remaining on the market; the former Mervyns’ and the space next to Academy. Steinhart is filling the former Circuit City location and Hobby Lobby is expanding in Moore Plaza, the city’s power center. The old Park dale Plaza is finally being torn down and replaced with a Super Wal-Mart, a small shadow center and some pad sites. The redevelopment of Lapalme Mall (formerly Padre Staples Mall) is under way at a cost of roughly $50 million. Every part of them all is being upgraded, including the anchor tenants. The only negative in the retail market was the foreclosure of Sunrise Mall.

The future of Corpus Christi looks bright thanks to expansion at the port and the anticipation of the $3 billion dollar Las Brisas Power Plant and $1 billion dollar Chinese pipe plant.

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