FAIRFAX CITY, VA – In a remarkable deviation from national and regional norms, Fairfax City has emerged with a cause for celebration, witnessing a noteworthy dip in commercial vacancies throughout 2023. This achievement stands in stark contrast to larger market trends, underscoring the resilience and unique appeal of smaller cities like Fairfax City. The locality’s affordability, with its lower market-rate rent, and its array of suitably scaled opportunities, have marked it as a beacon of post-pandemic commercial success.
As of the third quarter of 2023, general vacancy rates in the city have pleasantly dipped from 6.6% to 6%, creating a buzz among local businesses and residents alike. The scenario is similarly encouraging in other sectors, with office vacancies shrinking from 9.8% to 9% and retail spaces tightening from 2.8% to a mere 2.3%. Currently, the average rental rates are competitive, with office spaces at $24.8 per square foot and retail spots fetching $30.7.
These positive developments in commercial occupancy are expected to bolster Fairfax City’s revenue streams, painting a brighter economic picture for the year ahead.
Playing a pivotal role in this uptick, the Fairfax City Economic Development (FCED) has been instrumental, launching several initiatives contributing to the heartening statistics. One such venture, the Lease Incentives for Fairfax Tenants (LIFFT) program, initiated in Spring 2023, offers grants to new or burgeoning businesses within the city, incentivizing their establishment in high-vacancy office locales.
Further invigorating the local economic landscape, the FCED’s Technology Zone incentive, a collaboration with the City’s Commissioner of the Revenue, furnishes qualified tech enterprises with business license tax abatements over a five-year span, provided they commit to a similar duration in their leasing.
Local authorities are buoyant about these trends. “Fairfax City is an ideal hub for business growth and relocation, situated strategically within Northern Virginia’s robust, innovative economic sphere,” commented Beth Young, Ph.D., Chair of the Fairfax City Economic Development Authority (EDA).
Echoing her sentiment, Christopher Bruno, Director and President of the FCED, remarked, “The current data underscores Fairfax City’s competitive edge and appeal. Our commitment to delivering superior services to residents and businesses sets us apart, making our city a prime destination for pioneering firms to plant their roots.”
Nicole Toulouse, Senior Vice President of the EDA, also highlighted the city’s comprehensive support ecosystem for businesses. “With attractive rental rates and extensive support resources, including direct grants and expert guidance from our numerous Small Business Development Center (SBDC) partners, Fairfax City offers an unparalleled value proposition for companies navigating the post-COVID relocation landscape.”
This wave of optimism, fueled by innovative programs and strategic advantages, suggests Fairfax City is well on its way to solidifying its status as a sought-after destination for businesses large and small in the post-pandemic world.