Greater Burlington commercial market
Chittenden County, which includes the Burlington metro area and more
than a quarter of the state’s population, is seeing solid growth, according
to a June 2018 report from commercial appraisal company Allen, Brooks
& Minor. The county’s retail-property market recorded a vacancy rate of
3. 8 percent as of this past June, down from 6.1 percent a year earlier, and
rent prices are stable despite e-commerce taking a toll on local retailers.
The county’s office-market vacancy rate ticked up to 10.1 percent as of
this past June, compared to 9. 4 percent a year earlier. Chittenden County’s
apartment market is particularly strong, however, with a vacancy rate of
1.7 percent, according to Allen, Brooks & Minor. Adding to the county’s
commercial-property bulk is CityPlace Burlington, a $225 million mixed-use project that is expected to be fully operational by early 2021.
What the locals say
“Vermont, of course, is a tourist and recreational destination,
and those two industries are major drivers of the overall
state economy. … Vermont has managed to attract high-tech industries, craft breweries and self-insured (or captive)
insurance companies. Businesses that serve people working
in those industries, such as health care and education, have
been a big part of what activity has been occurring in the
years since the onset of the Great Recession. I understand,
in parts of the country, the Great Recession has been largely
overcome. But, in talking with most businesspeople around
rural Vermont, the recovery is still in progress.”
By Neil Pierson
The Green Mountain State seeks to build long-term stability.
Vermont, also known as the Green Mountain State, is located at the northern
end of the Appalachians and is renowned for its verdant forested landscape.
The state is a popular destination for snow lovers as there are nearly
50 alpine and cross-country ski resorts. The first Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop
opened in 1978 at a refurbished gas station in Burlington.
Vermont is saturated with rural areas and open spaces. Its population of
620,000 is the second-smallest among the states in the U.S., and there are,
on average, only 68 residents per square mile. According to rankings from
U.S. News and World Report, Vermont has the nation’s sixth-best health care
system, the eighth-best educational system and is second best for public
safety. Its infrastructure, however, is struggling as Vermont ranks among the
bottom half of states for electricity prices, power-grid reliability, public-transit usage and quality of roads.
According to a November 2017 report from Forbes, Vermont’s $31 billion
economy is the nation’s smallest, and its business costs are 12 percent higher
than the national average. The state’s five-year average unemployment
rate of 4 percent was the nation’s fourth-lowest but its economic outlook
through 2022 is the second-worst in the U.S.
As of this past April, state revenues were up 6. 8 percent year over year and
were on track for the largest fiscal-year growth in five years. That was due,
in part, to a 10 percent jump in personal income-tax revenue. Vermont had
the fifth-lowest unemployment rate in the nation at that point (2.8 percent)
and, although a shrinking workforce between 2009 and 2016 contributed to
low unemployment, that trend began to change as the labor force grew by
3,200 people from January 2018 to April 2018. That was the state’s largest
four-month labor-force increase since 1985. Vermont’s median household
income is $55,176, Forbes reported.
Vermont is home to more than 1,000 manufacturing companies that account
for about 11 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. GlobalFoundries,
GE Aviation and UTC Aerospace Systems all employ at least 700 people.
Burlington, the state’s largest city, is the first U.S. city to be powered entirely
by renewable energy and the number of clean-energy jobs in the state has
surged 29 percent since 2013.
Vermont’s health care industry includes 14 nonprofit hospitals and more than
50,000 employees, or about 9 percent of the state’s workforce. Several large-scale employers contribute to this sector by providing electronic medical
records, imaging, surgical equipment and pharmaceutical products. n
Owner/broker, Ault Commercial Realty Inc.
■ ■ 288 housing units, with 20 percent classified as
■ ■ About 220,000 square feet of office space
■ ■ About 125,000 square feet of retail space
■ ■ More than 900 parking spaces
■ ■ Up to $22 million in civic infrastructure improvements