Small Business Lease Rate Survey
Los Alamos MainStreet, in partnership with New Mexico MainStreet, gathered data for a market analysis of commercial lease rates in Los Alamos County. The report includes average and median lease rates, a spatial overview of commercial spaces, lease agreements, and ownership rates in the MainStreet district and elsewhere in Los Alamos County.
Los Alamos MainStreet engaged with New Mexico MainStreet in late summer 2021 to start a process to analyze the current small business ecosystem with regard to vacancies and lease rates. During this time, small businesses were struggling with staffing and the continued challenges of the pandemic, including supply chain issues and rising costs, and there were an increasing number of building vacancies. Some businesses closed to expand elsewhere, and some owners retired.
Los Alamos MainStreet sought survey responses for its Market Analysis through multiple channels, leaving the survey open for a few months. Survey and report author, New Mexico MainStreet revitalization specialist Rhea Serna, in conjunction with representatives from Los Alamos MainStreet, also visited businesses in the district in-person with the survey.
While the findings in the report are not necessarily a representative or statistically relevant sample of businesses in Los Alamos, it is only the beginning of an in-depth study and action plan for how we can enhance our local market conditions to make it a more desirable location for current and new businesses to succeed. Of particular note in the survey results are space buildout costs, a desire by some for building ownership, and the fact that a third of survey respondents said they pay more than 10% of their gross sales per square feet on their rent -- which is above the recommended market average. There could be a variety of market factors influencing this, but it needs to be examined more closely. Los Alamos MainStreet will use this Market Analysis, and more data points, to work closely with Los Alamos County, New Mexico MainStreet, Los Alamos National Laboratory, property owners and business owners to create more favorable dynamics that will lead to long-term sustainability and economic vitality and diversity in our community.