Sunday, April 21, 2002

Industry notes: Real Estate

Vacancies up in city, suburbs

By Ken Alltucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        As more and more signs point to a recovering economy, Greater Cincinnati's landlords are scrambling to fill vacant office buildings.

        A new report suggests things actually became worse during the first three months of 2002 — a period when many brokers predicted rosier days would emerge.

        Yet vacancies downtown and in the suburbs have grown over the last three months.

        “It doesn't make the picture very pretty,” said Alan Piker, managing partner of Cresa Partners, a tenant representative.

        What's more, lease rates have actually declined 4 percent when concessions such as free rent and tenant improvements are factored, according to Cresa.

        Cresa's report includes both vacant office space and sublease space — office buildings leased but not occupied because of layoffs or other reasons.

        Most brokers don't include sublease space in vacancy reports, but Mr. Piker argues it should be counted because it's available to prospective tenants.

        Downtown Class A vacant office space jumped to 15.6 percent at the end of March from 13.3 percent at the end of January.

        More trouble looms for downtown, too. Large tenants such as Convergys and IBM have launched real estate searches that could take them out of downtown.

        News in the suburbs isn't much better. Suburban Class A vacancies increased to 26.3 percent from 23 percent at the end of December.

Cornerstone at Norwood is a go

        The Norwood Planning Commission last week gave the green light to a new office/retail complex near Rookwood Pavilion.

        The Cornerstone at Norwood will include a seven-story, 150,000-square-foot office tower and 50,000 square feet of retail space on 5 acres wedged between Smith and Williams roads and Interstate 71.

        No tenants have been announced, but developer Ackermann Group purchased and bulldozed 17 homes on the site. Four dilapidated apartment buildings al so will be demolished.

Broker moves 2 industrial buildings

               The Everest Group's Frank Torbeck recently brokered the sale of two small industrial buildings.

        Mr. Torbeck represented Cincinnati Displays in its $1.4 million purchase of a 44,300-square-foot building at 895 Glendale-Milford Road in Woodlawn.

        Cincinnati Displays, which specializes in making intricate exhibits for commercial and public users such as museums, will use the facility for production and storage.

        Mr. Torbeck also represented QC Industries in its $700,000 sale of a 25,600-square-foot building to C&W Equipment, which makes commercial laundry equipment.


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