Idaho Falls brokerage services specialist, Brent Wilson was recently interviewed by the Post Register on the future of vacant retail space in the Eastern Idaho commercial real estate market. In the article, Brent mentions that there is interest in Idaho Falls’ vacant retail space. However, he expects the buildings to be reused in new ways.
“It’s what we call adaptive reuse,” Wilson said. “The businesses are going to be the experiential/entertainment-type of uses, golf simulation for one example. There’s also going to be multiple vocational schools occupying big box buildings.”
Wilson also referenced U-Haul's purchase of former Kmart locations and the reuse of them as storage facilities- another example of adaptive reuse.
Wilson himself has invested in a business that utilizes the adaptive reuse strategy. Wilson and his brother, also a commercial real estate agent, bought a haunted house, formerly known as Dr. Slaughters, on First Street. The building was a grocery store before becoming an entertainment attraction.
“The building was well beyond its useful lifespan, but, hey, that makes for a great haunted house,” Wilson said.
Office space, as well, is in high demand in Idaho Falls, and repurposing a former bog box store would cost from 1/3 to 1/5 the cost of building new.
The growing trend of adaptive reuse is indicative of brick-and-mortar retail’s waning success, but in-person shopping isn’t completely dead. People still prefer to shop for certain things in-person, such as groceries and furniture, Wilson said.