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CBC: Orlando's Top of the Heap for CRE

CBC: Orlando's Top of the Heap for CRE

By Paul Bubny

January 7, 2014




Orlando's economic outlook is "shining bright," says Coldwell Banker's Paul Hoffman.

MADISON, NJ-The top market in the US for commercial real estate, as determined by Coldwell Banker Commercial? Call it one of the most spectacular comeback stories of recent years: Orlando.

In a report made available exclusively to, Madison, NJ-based CBC evaluated the home of Disney World and 79 other US markets and found that Orlando ranked best overall when commercial vacancies, rents, changes in population and unemployment were considered. Rounding out CBC’s top 10 for CRE markets were Dallas; San Diego; Austin, TX; Raleigh-Durham, NC; Orange County, CA; Fort Worth; Minneapolis; San Jose; and Portland, OR.

“Central Florida’s real estate rebound is in full swing with Orlando leading the way,” comments  Paul Hoffman with Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT. “Cranes evidence the downtown Orlando recovery as previously shelved hotel, office and apartment projects are resurrected.”

Hoffman cites the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts opening this fall, and an 18,000-seat Major League Soccer stadium that will accommodate Orlando’s new franchise. “Orlando is still the top tourist destination in the world and will host a record 56+ million visitors and generate $50 billion in economic impact in 2013; with expansions like Disney’s Avatar, Magic Kingdom, Downtown Disney and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal 2014, visitation is expected to exceed 63 million and bring an additional $1.3 billion of new business,” observes Hoffman.

Outside the realm of tourism, the burgeoning Lake Nona Medical City area is home to such facilities as the Nemour Children’s Hospital, UCF’s Health Sciences Campus, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and VA Hospital. “By 2017, ‘Medical City’ is expected to create 30,000 jobs and $7.6 billion in economic impact,” Hoffman says.

In order to accommodate the area’s population and tourism growth, Orlando International Airport is gearing up for a $1.1-billion expansion to host an estimated 45 million travelers by 2020. In addition, Hoffman says, “SunRail will begin service in Spring 2014; running 61 miles from Volusia to Osceola County linking Central Florida together and eventually connecting with ‘All Aboard Florida,” which will run from Orlando to Miami and South Florida. SunRail is expected to generate over 261,000 jobs and $8.8 billion in economic impact over 30 years. The sun and the economic outlook are shining bright in Orlando.”

Looking at the major commercial sectors yields further geographic diversity. In office, the top market is Orange County, CA, followed by San Jose; Denver; Charleston, SC; and New York. For Orange County, “the market’s Achilles heel in the recent downturn was the large mortgage industry tenant base, which led the sector’s decline during the recession. The wound has healed.” City.

Four of the five top markets for retail are in the overall top 1); Orlando, Austin, Minneapolis and Fort Worth. Leading the way, though, is Hartford, CT, which is helped considerably by a dearth of new construction as vacancies decline and asking rents tick upward.

The nation’s best multifamily market, according to CBC, is Oakland-East Bay, CA, where “vacancy is rock bottom and falling.” Greenville, SC; San Diego; Houston; and Cincinnati round out the top five. The best market for population growth, according to CBC, is Providence, RI, while Orlando leads the way for improvement in the local unemployment picture.


Bubny, Paul (2014, January 7), CBC: Orlando's Top of the Heap for CRE,, (January 13, 2014)