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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Saturday, August 21, 2004


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Retail benefits from economy

The vacancy rate at Hawaii retail properties dropped to 6.4 percent in the second quarter from 7.6 percent a year earlier, a sign of the improving local economy, according to a report released yesterday by commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis Hawaii.

Most retail expansion occurred in community and neighborhood retail centers, and the average asking rent has been pushed up to $2.49 a square foot, excluding malls and resorts, the report said.

Investors plan more than $400 million in Hawaii retail construction and renovation projects, and more than $71 million in retail property has changed hands in the past year, said Jeffrey Hall, senior director of research for CB Richard Ellis.

Moody's upgrades Big Isle rating

Moody's Investors Service has upgraded Hawaii County's general obligation bond rating to A-1 from A-2, which will reduce the cost the county pays for insuring its $203.6 million debt.

Moody's said the upgrade reflects strong tax growth in recent years and economic development and construction projects that are expected to continue to boost taxes. The rating service also considered the county's improving financial performance and modest debt.

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