Northeast Indiana’s industrial real estate market had another boom year, particularly for new construction, a survey released Wednesday shows.
The vacancy rate at the beginning of this year was 5.25 percent, representing about 5.5 million square feet of space. That was down from the 6.52 percent vacancy rate, representing 6.6 million square feet, at the start of 2015, The Zacher Co. report said.
More than 2.8 million square feet of commercial space was started or completed last year, which was more than double the 1.4 million in 2014.
The biggest year for new commercial construction since Zacher began tracking the data was 3.5 million in 2012.
The report defines northeast Indiana as Allen, Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties.
Economic development organizations in each county help provide data for the report. The vacancy square footage is based on information from several sources, including online data from multiple listing services and information brokers list on their websites.
The expansion at General Motors’ Allen County truck assembly plant drove much of the increased construction activity last year – about 2 million square feet, according to the Zacher report. GM announced last May that it plans to invest $1.2 billion for a new paint shop and expansion of its body shop.
Steven K. Zacher said many companies chose to invest in construction to best suit their space needs.
"A lot of it, you just couldn’t find in existing buildings," he said.
Low interest rates were also appealing, but companies still have to weigh the commitment for construction versus leasing.
"Some companies don’t have any choice but to lease," Zacher said. "They may not be able to make that long of a commitment."