Greater Cheyenne Office Market
Source: Wyoming Center for Business and Economic Analysis
Average asking rent
Cheyenne commercial market
per square foot
Total vacancy rate
A first-quarter 2018 report from the Wyoming Center for Business and
Economic Analysis shows that commercial property vacancies in the
Greater Cheyenne area crept upward between first-quarter 2017 and
first-quarter 2018. The area had more than 352,000 square feet of vacant
office space as of this past first quarter, with downtown Cheyenne
accounting for more than half of that figure. Average lease rates for
offices were rising, however, from $14.05 to $14.90 per square foot
between the first quarters of 2017 and 2018 — even as the office-vacancy
rate rose from 12. 8 percent to 13. 6 percent over the period.
The same report said vacancies for warehouse and retail spaces also increased slightly (each less than a percentage point) year over year as
of this past first quarter — with the most recent figures showing the
warehouse vacancy rate at 8.2 percent and the retail vacancy rate at
13. 3 percent. Average lease rates on these properties declined year over
year, with warehouse space dropping to $7.78 per square foot and retail
space dropping to $10.90 per square foot.
What the locals say
“There’s a huge initiative to make sure that we have connectivity statewide, and I think that’s very hard in some rural areas
of Wyoming. … Transportation is another big issue. Smaller
communities just tend to not have air service, so if you’re trying to locate a tech company, even if they truly love Wyoming
— they love the outdoors, they love the clean air — you’ve got
to be able to get in and out. This ENDOW initiative is focused
on trying to find ways to move people in and out of the state.”
By Neil Pierson
Wyoming is working to re-energize its economy.
Wyoming, which became the 44th state in 1890, in many ways still resembles the American frontier of a century ago. Its 579,315 residents as of July
2017 make it the smallest state by population, according to the U.S. Census
Bureau. And the state is still renowned for its natural beauty, a hallmark of
its frontier days as well. It is home to Yellowstone National Park, Shoshone
National Forest, Devils Tower National Monument and more than two dozen
national historic landmarks.
Wyoming has long been known as the Equality State after its territorial government gave women the right to vote in 1869, more than 50 years before
the 19th Amendment granted suffrage to all American women.
The state is heavily dependent on the energy sector. It also is struggling
to attract and retain residents and businesses, a problem magnified during
energy-sector downturns. According to a report this past November from
Forbes, the state lost 1.1 percent of its jobs during the prior 12 months and
3,800 residents in 2016. The cost of doing business in the Equality State is
1.3 percent more expensive than the national average, and Wyoming ranks
in the bottom half of states for labor supply, quality of life, growth prospects
and economic climate, Forbes said.
The cost of living also is on the rise in Wyoming, with the state’s Department
of Administration and Information reporting a 2.3 percent year-over-year inflation hike as of fourth-quarter 2017. All consumer categories — including
food, medical expenses, transportation and housing — had annual inflation
increases for the first time since fourth-quarter 2013.
There are positive signs, however, as the number of oil rigs operating within
the state was at a three-year high as of this past April, while sales-and-use
tax collections rose by about 19 percent over the previous nine months.
Wyoming also is looking to boost its aerospace-industry presence, working
with companies like L&H Industrial and Square One Systems Design on marketing and outreach efforts. The aerospace industry contributes $30 million
a year to Wyoming’s economy, compared to $18.5 billion and $15 billion in
neighboring Colorado and Utah, respectively, the Casper Area Economic
Development Alliance said.
In November 2016, Gov. Matt Mead announced the creation of the ENDOW
initiative — Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming — to address job-growth concerns. State leaders have said the lack of a major population center is hampering the state’s ability to attract new businesses, as
Casper and Cheyenne are the only cities with at least 90,000 people within
a 60-mile radius. Fewer amenities for millennials may be an obstacle for the
state in recruiting a larger number of skilled, technology-related jobs. n
President, WIDC-Frontier CDC