The local video store is closing, and the other day I wandered in to pay our remaining late fees (eight bucks for a single video that spent a week under the couch). I was the only customer, so the guy at the desk had time to tell me about his store’s demise. Turns out that this isn’t just a single under-performing store folding, but the whole company, Movie Gallery, closing all 1,900 of its Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery stores. I said something like, “Man, that’s a lot of empty commercial space,” and he said he’s heard that the liquidator in charge of this wind-down is negotiating with Blockbuster, the biggest video chain, for the same services. So we’re talking thousands of mostly prime-location storefronts.
But big as it is, the evaporation of bricks and mortar video rental could be passed off as run-of-the-mill creative destruction, as better technologies drive DVDs off the field. As such, it’s not a reliable indicator of commercial real estate in general, and not really blog-post worthy.
Then this came from a friend in Washington State:
I’ve been watching all of the empty commercial real estate around the development where I work. It is pretty sad and some of these places have been empty for 2-3 years! Most of the smaller single units all went under in the last year or so. I took a quick ride around today with a camera and I thought I’d share!
ALL properties pictured are right in here, maybe a square mile? The location is right off 405 in North Bothell at the Canyon Park exit. I’ve been there for a few years and seen some of these empty for 2-3 years. The former Icos building had been empty the entire time but recently someone finally moved in there but I don’t see many cars in the parking lot so they must be small. No pictures of that one. Here is as detailed a rundown as I can give on the attached PDF file with the pictures:
He sent many, many more pictures, but these five give a sense of what that office park — and many other office parks — must be like. Local and regional banks are on the hook for most of the loans associated with these empty buildings and those losses will be huge when they’re finally recognized.