Updated March 27 at 9:27am
real estate

2012 a ‘year of contrasts’ for R.I. real estate, says Capstone


PROVIDENCE – For Rhode Island’s commercial real estate market, 2012 was a “year of contrasts between large and small transactions across all property types,” according to Capstone Properties’ 2012 real estate survey.

During the year, there were nine large transactions in excess of $5 million and 55 transactions with prices less than $500,000.

“The year also saw the re-emergence of investor appetite for all property types, including hotels, office buildings, industrial properties, apartments and land,” said the report.

The number of sales rose 13.7 percent during the year from 190 in 2011 to 216 in 2012. “While some sectors were flat – such as retail and portions of the industrial market – there were enough encouraging signs to declare that the year marked a continuing recovery.”

The report noted the sale of three Providence hotels in 2012: The Westin, The Biltmore and the Renaissance, adding that the Biltmore also announced major renovations.

According to the report, vacancy began to inch down in 2012 and the retail section, which has been flat in recent history, saw some “significant sales and leases, offering optimism that there will be more recovery in 2013.”

The number of transactions in the industrial market showed “marked improvement” from 2011, the second consecutive year of increases.

The report noted that buildings smaller than 15,000 square feet showed the largest one-year increase in 15 years, with property sales volume increasing from $5 million in 2011 to $12 million in 2012. Properties between 15,000 and 30,000 square feet recorded a 100 percent increase year over year.

“Until now, the smaller user has largely been non-existent in the marketplace, so this level of activity is an encouraging sign of local economic improvement,” said the report.

In 2012, the Rhode Island real estate market saw sales in the office market record some of its largest transactions since the beginning of the recession. Properties included 473 Kilvert St. in Warwick and 15 LaSalle Square in Providence.

“The vacancy rate for the state has begun to decline, and some buildings that have experienced long-term vacancies have begun to lease,” said the report, noting that 300 Jefferson Blvd. in Warwick is now 100 percent leased.

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