Space Survey 2009
July 19, 2009
If space is the final frontier, then Santa Barbara must be the wide-open prairie. There's enough empty space here to parallel-park a Suburban pulling a backhoe. The empty space we speak of is unoccupied commercial real estate waiting for renters.
In case you haven't been paying attention, there's a big bad recession going on. While the banks that borrowed billions appear to be moving from red spaces to black ones, you, me, and the next guy are out of work, out of equity in our homes, and dipping into our 401k's like it's guacamole at a Cinco de Mayo party. For businesses and government agencies, layoffs are the new black. And since workers tend to take up space, without them there is a whole galaxy of available space. There is also more parking and shorter lines for the microwave in the lunchroom.
The signs are all there - "For Lease" signs, that is.
In 2005 and 2006, the dedicated staff of edhat.com drove the entire State/Hollister corridor from the Wharf to the Bacara counting "For Lease" signs and adding up the amount of available square footage on signs providing that information. On Tuesday of this week, we returned to the streets, and did the exact same thing.
In 2006, we found that the numbers were pretty much the same as in 2005. In 2009, however, we were seeing double. There were twice as many signs, and twice as much space as in surveys past. The signs of the time clearly show that these times are hard times. And the emptiness some felt in the materialistic pursuit of happiness has now been replaced by emptiness in the office buildings that once housed these workers whose jobs it was to feed this materialism.
This year, we found 63 different properties for lease on the main thoroughfare through our little blue town. Nineteen of the signs identified a grand total of 243,246 square feet of available space. The numbers in 2006 were 31, 7, and 112k, respectively. In 2005, it was 36, 8, and 112k. You don't need to be an In House Statistician (IHS) to interpret this data.
The Edhat contest this week was to guess the amount of square feet we would tally in our morning drive. Edhat subscriber DLK proved to all that he/she is the king of infinite space. With a guess of 243,000 square-feet, DLK wins an Edhat t-shirt, pickupable at Santa Barbara Arts in La Arcada.
Here are pictures of all 63 signs we saw on our drive.
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