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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 11:58 a.m., Thursday, May 25, 2006

Business briefs: Retail space filing up on O'ahu

Advertiser Staff

The amount of empty store space on O'ahu has shrunk since the end of 2005 as retailers extended an expansion run into a third year, according to a new report. But the pace of industry growth has slowed.

Merchants filled 81,233 square feet of space this year through mid-May to send the retail vacancy rate down slightly to 3 percent, a low not seen in more than a decade, according to local commercial real estate firm Colliers Monroe Friedlander.

Colliers said the reduction in available space has created more competition among retailers seeking to grow with the strong local economy.

Less available space also has enabled landlords to raise rental rates. Average net monthly asking rent for retail space per square foot rose from $2.85 to $2.91 over the last six months, according to the report. Since the end of 2003, asking rental rates have increased about 24 percent.

Taxpayers can check refund status online

Hawai'i taxpayers can now check on the status of their refunds on the Internet or by telephone under changes made by the state Department of Taxation.

People can log into www.hawaii.gov/tax and click on the "Looking for your individual tax status" link. They'll have to give their Social Security number and exact refund amount requested. People can also use a touch-tone telephone to check by calling 587-4242 on O'ahu or 1-(800) 222-3229, the tax department said.