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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Westport Commercial Vacancy Rates Up Slightly

The Westport office vacancy rate as of Jan. 1 stands at 16.8 percent, up slightly from 16.2 percent in July 2003, according to Ted Hampe, chairman of HK Group.

HK Group tracks 172 office buildings, with square footage totaling 2,565,000 SF of which 431,000 SF was vacant on Jan. 1. 

An additional 27,000 SF was being offered for sub-lease or future direct lease, reflecting planned tenant moves. 

Therefore, the office availability rate was 17.5 percent on Jan. 1, Hampe said.

Recent Westport availability and vacancy trends are summarized below:

Available Vacant

January 2001 2.4% 2.2%
July 2001 11.7% 6.7%
January 2002 13.9% 8.9%
July 2002 14.7% 12.8%
January 2003 17.6% 16.8%
July 2003 18.4% 16.2%
January 2004 17.5% 16.8%

Office vacancy levels in Westport appear to have topped out and should begin to decline in 2004,” said Hampe. 

ӓThe improving economy has apparently triggered more leasing activity.

“For example, the new owner of the former Marketing Corporation of America headquarters on Riverside Avenue has signed up two new tenants which will take about 25,000 SF off the market. 

“They are Northwestern Life Insurance, moving a sales office from Norwalk; and Sterling Ventures, relocating within Westport.

On the retail front, HK Group figures show that vacancy levels have gone up to 6.7 percent since the 4.2 percent rate reported in July 2003 and the 2.7 percent level announced in January 2003. 

Some 94,000 square feet out of an inventory of about 1,405,000 SF were available at year-end, according to Peter Jennings, director of commercial & residential property management services for HK Group.

He said the vacancy rate went up because of several new availabilities, such as the 8,000 SF Zany Brainy unit at Post Plaza. 

Retail vacancies are expected to go somewhat higher if the typical post-holiday fallout occurs, he said.


Posted 01/07/04 at 05:53 AM  Permalink


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