The vacancy rate of commercial properties is a problem many cities and towns in Flanders and beyond are dealing with. Between 2008 and 2014, the percentage of empty shops in Flanders increased by 70%. In total 7,4% of the available retail space in the Flemish region is unoccupied.
To gain insight into the causes of vacancy of commercial properties, wes research & strategy has organized a survey by phone among owners of vacant commercial properties by order of Agentschap Ondernemen (Enterprise Flanders). We tried to find out why this property was unoccupied and hadn’t been assigned a new function.
These findings allowed us to conduct a brainstorming session in the second phase of this study on how to reduce vacancy rates. Topics dealt with were the following:
- symptoms: what are the symptoms of vacancy?
- causes: what are the underlying causes of vacancy?
- remedies: which preventive measures could be taken to prevent vacancy?
- actions: which actions might reduce the vacancy rate?
The brainstorming led to a number of concrete policy recommendations to support Agentschap Ondernemen in pursuing an appropriate vacancy policy.