Empty buildings are plentiful, but what you don't see are the deals that are happening behind the scenes that indicate a commercial real estate boom is about to begin as large defense contractors are expected to follow the forces and reserve commands from Atlanta to Fort Bragg.
Despite new office buildings with few or no tenants, both the office and industrial space vacancy rates in Fayetteville decreased at the end of 2010.
"We've got some good tenants in the building," said Neil Grant, commercial real estate broker. "It's a great building and we're just showing it."
For the past 20 years, Grant has been dealing in Fayetteville's commercial real estate market. He says don't be fooled by the empty buildings. There's a lot of activity behind the scenes of the commercial real estate market.
He adds a lot of it has to do with the generals who will soon occupy the FORSCOM and Reserve Command Building at Fort Bragg. Thanks to the Base Realignment and Closure Law known as BRAC.
Grant says he has five commercial brokers and all of them are busy.
"But it takes wiles to ink deals," Grant said. "I'll give you an example. We're working on a lease right now on a building downtown. It's a national company. We've been two months. They're waiting to sign the lease for themselves to ink their contract with a ten-year deal with Fort Bragg."
All over the city there are signs indicating there's available office space in buildings but developers aren't worried. They say it won't be long before places downtown are packed with tenants.
"Pretty much everything that's existing ought to get used up over the next three to four years," Grant said. "This building should get leased. The building on Hay Street should get leased."
According to the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce, there are several military contracts that had footprint offices in the area that have increased the size of their original office space requirements.
That means more higher paying military related jobs should start popping up in the downtown area for civilians.