BELL COUNTY - A little more than 12 percent of commercial office space in the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area is vacant, roughly the same percentage that has been available since 2011, according to a report on second quarter 2014 sales and rentals from commercial real estate tracking firm Reis.
The percentage of retail space available in the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area increased from 14.8 percent from second quarter 2013 to 15.9 percent, the highest percentage of vacancies since mid-2011.
Attracting and maintaining retail businesses to Central Texas is a complicated process, said John Crutchfield, president of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce.
“The hard part is getting people in Chicago or New York to understand the numbers on the ground here,” Crutchfield said. “The way household income is reported doesn’t take into account the various allowances offered to military personnel, so the national demographics don’t work in our favor.”
Once a retailer does decide to open a store in the area it often becomes one of the leading stores on a sales-per-square-foot basis, Crutchfield said.
Although area retail establishments do well once they are open, attracting new stores has not been a top priority for area economic development corporations.
“Our charge is to enhance the tax base and create primary jobs,” said Cynthia Hernandez, executive of the Belton Economic Development Corp.
A primary job is one that creates new wealth in the community, said Monica Hull, director of business development for the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corp., in an August interview.