Ever notice that some stretches of Greater Cincinnati highways are dominated by massive, androgynous warehouses that come to life ONLY when a tractor-trailer pulls in?

In fact, the region is ranked 12th in the nation for its stock of big-box industrial spaces "” those 100,000 square feet or larger "” according to new CB Richard Ellis statistics for first quarter 2007. The short answer why: All those on-ramps to Interstates 71, 75 and 74, plus the CVG airport factor.

Even more importantly, this region's vacancy rate for warehouse space is among the lowest nationwide, at 7.3 percent for the first quarter,

CB Richard Ellis reports. That compares to 9.7 percent across the U.S. Only Indianapolis and Northern New Jersey faired better among the 15 industrial property hot spots.

One signal this market (unlike residential real estate) is stable locally: Duke Realty's growing portfolio of industrial property. Duke has 2.95 million square feet of industrial and office space in the few square miles surrounding Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Duke's developments there have names such as Skyport (sporting five buildings with 1.75 million square feet of industrial and office space), Hebron and Southpark. In May, just 6.3 percent of that space was vacant, according to spokesman Tamela Grabb.

"The Northern Kentucky bulk distribution market has evolved into a 'big box' distribution market, with buildings from 400,000 to 600,000 square feet being the norm," says Dan Ruh, Duke's senior vice president of Cincinnati operations Duke bought 30 more acres in Hebron. "This site allows us to capitalize on this trend."

Dr. Norman G. Miller, who launched the University of Cincinnati's real estate program in 1981 and cultivated it into an internationally known center for research and education, is retiring. Miller served as a local real estate expert for 26 years, frequently lectured around the globe and was a trusted resource for national media. He's relocating to San Diego to be closer to family.

Jim Bruckner joined Midland Atlantic as a construction manager handling the firm's projects in North Carolina and its new shopping center acquisition group. The Anderson Township resident previously worked for Professional Engineering Group LLC and Neyer Properties.

Ten Cincinnati leasing firms were named 2006 Power Broker award winners by CoStar Group and Real Estate Forum magazine, based on annual transactions. The winners: Brandt Retail Group, Carey Laumer Commercial Realty, CB Richard Ellis, Cincinnati Capital Properties, Cincinnati Commercial Realtors/Cushman & Wakefield, Colliers Turley Martin Tucker, Grubb & Ellis/West Shell Commercial, The Everest Group/TCN Worldwide, The Staubach Co., and Vollmer Realty.

The charm of Old Montgomery worked its magic on Huff Realty, which is moving its area sales office to the new Montgomery Gateway development there. Huff's new space at 9730 Montgomery Road includes parking in the popular shopping and eatery district, plus state-of-the-art technology and community meeting rooms.

Kristine Davidson was promoted to vice president of Brandt Retail Group in Cincinnati. She represents shopping center owners and developers for project leasing and sales. She also performs market analysis, site selection and dispositions for retailers and restaurants.

Love the 'Nati? Get out your pen or keyboard. Relocate-America, the consumer real estate services firm, just released its annual ratings of the Top 100 Places to Live in America and "” oops "” no Queen City. But Columbus, Louisville, Lexington and Bloomington, Ind., all make the list. The rankings begin with nominations from folks who like their town, followed by analysis of education, employment, economic, crime, recreation and housing data. Go to www.top100.relocate-america.com.

University of Cincinnati-Clermont began offering real estate pre-licensing courses in an accelerated three-week format at its Milford campus. The program includes all classes required for people taking the Ohio real estate sales exam. Day and evening classes are available, says coordinator Bill Wise.

Real estate news relevant to the Tristate business community may be emailed to realestate@cincybusinessmag.com.