Commercial real estate business bouncing back after several long years

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

MESA, Ariz. -- While you can still find plenty of space for lease in the Valley, there are signs that the commercial real estate market is starting to bounce back.

At Robbie Anderson's Yee-haw Meat Market in Mesa, transactions at the fledgling business are steady.

"After 29 years in the meat industry... we've saved almost all our lives [to open it]," Anderson said.

The family is leasing the property from Michael Pollack Investments after getting a good deal and feeling the time was right to open up their own business.

Meanwhile Pollack says his commercial real-estate business is picking up, as well, with failure rates down by 97 percent and interest in some spaces so high there is a waiting list. That hasn't happened for him since 2008.

"Is this a dream market like it was in 2005 through 2008? No. It's not a complete dream. But compared to the nightmare scenario that unfolded in 2009, this is a dream," Pollack explained.

Now Pollack gets about 100 calls a week, compared to the 15 a week, a few years ago.

Meanwhile, experienced business owners are looking at expanding. Craig DeMarco is working on opening his sixth restaurant.

DeMarco just opened Postino East in Gilbert, with plans to open another restaurant at Central Avenue and Camelback Road where three of his businesses  -- Postino, Windsor and Churn -- are already clustered.

"We are going full speed ahead because I think there is some sense of recovery going on and we have some confidence. But we're finding great real estate, especially stuff in mature neighborhoods like this North Central neighborhood," DeMarco said.

"My kids were having a rough time getting jobs, so we thought to ourselves, 'Why not put them to work?' Go in a try and make the best of it... We just had to pay our bills," Anderson said.


Still, vacant space is still pretty easy to find, and jobs remain difficult to come by.

That's part of the reason Anderson opened up his meat market in the first place.