by Dorothy M. Atkins,Aspen Daily News Staff Writer
The downtown commercial core is nearly full, with a vacancy rate reaching pre-recession percentages.
About 30 retail leases have commenced in the past year, which is more than the usual handful that occur annually, said commercial real estate broker Karen Setterfield.
With the increased level of activity, there is a consensus among commercial brokers that the retail vacancy rate is somewhere between 2 and 5 percent, which pales in comparison to last year around the same time when it hovered around 9 or 10 percent. (At the beginning of 2008, less than 1 percent of restaurant, retail and office spaces were empty in the downtown core.)