WisBusiness: the Podcast with Chris Richards, Colliers Wisconsin

This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Chris Richards, managing director of Colliers Wisconsin’s Madison office. 

Richards offers insights on commercial real estate in Wisconsin, noting the industrial market is “as hot as it’s been, probably ever.” That includes warehouses and manufacturing facilities. 

“We’re seeing a ton of traction here in the state of Wisconsin,” he said. “Speaking of Madison in particular, which is where we’re headquartered, our vacancy rate is under 2 percent. Which is incredible and about as low as we’ve had it in the 20 years I’ve been in the business.” 

In other areas of the state such as La Crosse, Milwaukee, Eau Claire and the Fox Valley, speculative industrial facilities are being built to meet that demand, he said. Meanwhile, retailers in certain areas are paying “sky-high” rents for desirable locations, he added. 

“Where things start to get a little bit difficult … is the office sector,” he said. “The work-from-home situation that the pandemic kind of created has created uncertainty. And whenever you have uncertainty, things slow up a bit.” 

He predicts Wisconsin will see even more office space downsizing as this trend continues into the near future. He expects this will be most pronounced in areas where large investment companies have acquired buildings for this use. 

“Almost every sector of business is either shrinking or renewing for a short period of time in place because of the uncertainty that’s out there,” he said. “So the dynamics and volume and velocity of activity in these marketplaces is not what it was three, four years ago pre-pandemic.” 

Listen to the podcast below, sponsored by UW-Madison: