AUSTIN — (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN) Despite several recent high-profile closures – and more still on the horizon – the Central Texas retail sector continues to be red hot.

A new report from Weitzman, a commercial real estate firm with offices across Texas, found that Austin’s 96.1 percent retail occupancy rate is the state’s highest – and one of the best in the nation.

That holds true even when you factor in the exit of Toys R Us and Babies R Us from the market, leaving behind four empty storefronts totaling almost 150,000 square feet.

Weitzman found that the Toys R Us and Babies R Us vacancies impacted Austin’s retail vacancy rate by a miniscule .009 percent.

Britt Morrison, senior vice president in Weitzman’s Austin office, said there’s already interest in many of the Toys R Us and Babies R Us spots. He said he doesn’t expect them to stay empty for long.

“If you look at the former locations of some of Austin’s Toys R Us stores, you’ll see a few fall in the areas of town which are surrounded by a number of new mixed-use developments,” Morrison said. “While our market certainly allows for some quick and easy backfill opportunities on these spaces, I think you’ll see a number of these landlords – especially the ones who own centers which are within Austin’s core – take a more strategic, long-term approach in backfilling as a few are ripe for redevelopment opportunities.”

TO VIEW THE FULL REPORT FROM THE STATESMAN, CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK HERE.