Chicago – According to an annual retail survey of Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile” by locally based Northern Realty Group Ltd., asking rents for retail space on North Michigan Avenue have risen 58.5 percent and the vacancy rate for specialty stores has fallen 55.2 percent from a year ago.

Average asking rents soared to $128.42 per sq. ft. from last spring’s $81.02 per sq. ft. In the same period, the retail vacancy rate for specialty stores dropped from 5.5 percent to 2.5 percent.

Space available to lease dropped to 49,942 sq. ft. this year from 106,617 sq. ft. last year. A net of nearly 410,000 sq. ft. of retail space was absorbed over the past 12 months.