Olympia Press Building, corner of State and Capitol Way. I’m meeting owner Scott Shapiro to get a tour of the building. I’m going to talk commercial real estate with him, and I figure we could shoot this for enterprise I’m doing in April.
Drive around Thurston County and the scattered remains of a slow economic recovery are unmistakable: vacant buildings -- and lots of them -- now dot the landscape, everything from the most prominent vacancies, such as Kmart, to smaller, private office space. Commercial real estate experts say the commercial real estate market followed the residential market into recession and will follow it out. But when? One expert said it could be another two years before things are back to normal. And what’s normal? For private office space, a vacancy rate of 4 to 5 percent, but for one brokerage, it stands at 15 percent. Weighing on all of this, meanwhile, is a state that continues to project budget shortfalls. While commercial real estate has shown some improvement since last year, there’s a lot hanging in the balance. (Steve Bloom/staff photographer) STEVE BLOOM