Too many strip malls in Tri-Cities?

TRI-CITIES, Wash. - The Tri-Cities has been a bit of a mecca for strip malls. More are being built while others have been empty for years.

It's an issue we've covered many times.

Empty storefronts aren't good for business, let alone empty buildings.

Neighbor Brenda Smiley, "It's sad, it's sad. Either they're going to move in and not make it because there's not enough people to come over here and shop or are they just going to sit there vacant?"

Several strip malls have been ghost towns for years. The Broadmoor Outlet mall has seen a revolving door of tenants. Hansen Park in Kennewick has made some progress.

There's a spot in West Richland that once had the honor of never having a single tenant.

Seems one business managed to land here in the strip mall, a dance and fitness studio but in the middle of the day it's closed.

Commercial real estate brokers continue to take risks. Operating at little to no profit, stepping up their game to move tenants in.

Just like any real estate deal, it's all about location.

Broker Kevin O'Rorke said "If it's a local tenant then you're going and try to lure them in with rent abatement, free rent for months. Lower the price and try and get them going that way, help them get started."

It's tough to track the exact numbers of spaces available versus spaces filled since cities don't keep track themselves. Investors and brokers alike say the economy looks good and still hold out hope for business to pick up.

Kevin added, "Those will fill in time, but they were built a little before the curve, so, the growth curve so, those people are going to have to just suck it up and hold on until then."

Neighbors like Brenda Smiley have a better idea.

"I think there may be too many new ones, maybe we should revamp the old ones," she said.

Making due with what we already have.

Another reason some landlords aren't raking in the renters is the cost of rent. Prices are different all over town.

Near the mall, rent goes for about $17 a square foot. Premium spots off Rd 68 or Queensgate can double that.