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City’s new-business openings double in 2Q

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Fredericksburg residents have more options for shopping, eating and other services.

New business openings doubled in Fredericksburg during the second quarter, compared to the same period in 2013, according to the city’s Economic Development and Tourism Department’s quarterly report.

That means new openings increased by 50 percent, totaling 47 new businesses in the city.

These new businesses represent 108,951 square feet of space.

“The retail openings we have seen in the second quarter are very encouraging,” said Director of Economic Development and Tourism Karen Hedelt. “They show a growing confidence in the economy, with business owners ready to invest and the public ready to support new businesses. Every shopping center and district is showing distinct improvement in their occupancy levels.”

Twenty-nine of these businesses leased existing space, and commercial vacancy fell compared to the same period in 2013. Only 6.2 percent of retail space was unoccupied at the end of the quarter, compared to 7.7 percent in 2013.

The vacancy rate for industrial space also fell, from 18.4 percent in 2013 to 15.5 percent in 2014. Office space remained at a 14 percent vacancy rate both years.

However, retail sales tax revenue fell 1.8 percent during the second quarter. That’s $2,715,833 compared to 2013’s $2,764,453. Retail sales tax revenue is also down year-to-date, at $5,195,467 compared to $5,439,581 at this time in 2013.

The city’s share of that tax is the second largest source of revenue after the real estate tax.

Meals tax revenue, on the other hand, increased 1.4 percent from 2013’s second quarter to $2,563,050.

The report also stated that lower occupancy rates at area hotels have driven down the cost of rooms. Occupancy was down just over 1 percent, and average room rates fell from $86.90 to $85.60.

Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976

lestes@freelancestar.com

 

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