Make us your home page
Instagram

Tampa Bay office buildings land more tenants, indicating rebound

Tampa Bay office buildings replaced dust with more people in 2011, as the vacancy rate dropped to 19 percent, a level not seen since early 2009.

Real estate experts had predicted the rate would drop as businesses hire workers. Vacancy rates typically fall when employment grows.

Although a full economic recovery isn't under way, experts say the decline is good for the region. "The bottom is behind us," said Larry Richey, senior managing director of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. "It's amazing how real estate trends with employment."

He expects the numbers to drop even faster this year if the economy keeps improving.

Vacancy rates typically hover between 10 and 20 percent in the bay area, Richey said. Although the rate fell to 11.2 percent in the third quarter of 2006, Richey called that an "unprecedented" demand for space. The current rate of 19 percent mirrors the third quarter of 2003.

The rate in downtown Tampa is 16.5 percent, and downtown St. Petersburg's is 16.8 percent, according to Cushman & Wakefield data.

To lure tenants over the past few years, landlords offered free or reduced rent and shorter leases. That is still happening, but landlords will regain power as the vacancy rates drop lower.

Stephan Whitaker, a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, said vacancy rates are good indicators of how the economy is doing in a region.

"Businesses are not renting space for other reasons," he said. "If it is going down, there is a need for space. The market is clearing."

The average rent in the Tampa Bay area is $20.48 per square foot.

Claire Calzon, managing director of office services at Colliers International Tampa Bay, oversees 900,000 square feet of leasing in the Park Tower and Wells Fargo Center in downtown Tampa. She has seen an uptick in law firms expanding and other businesses seeking bigger and nicer spaces.

"Folks are tired of sitting on their hands waiting," she said. "This is a good thing. Landlords are trying to remain cautiously optimistic. We're definitely in a better position today than three years ago."

Unlike places such as Orlando, developers didn't flood the Tampa Bay market with new buildings during the boom, and they have not built many buildings since the real estate market imploded. Currently, about 330,000 square feet of new office space is being built in the bay area.

Miami's vacancy rate is 19.2 percent, Orlando's is 20.2 percent and Jacksonville's is 21.1, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Office space isn't only filling up here. In 2011, the U.S. office sector recorded the strongest level of demand since 2007, according to Cassidy Turley, a commercial real estate services provider.

Reach Mark Puente at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Tampa Bay office buildings land more tenants, indicating rebound 01/05/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 5, 2012 10:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. ReliaQuest opens storefront in mock city of JA Biztown

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — ReliaQuest, a Tampa-based cybersecurity company, opened a "storefront" Wednesday at JA Biztown. The storefront is part of a mock city where students learn economic concepts and run businesses. About 20 real-life Tampa Bay companies sponsor storefronts that local students get to run for a day as part of a …

    ReliaQuest, a Tampa-based cybersecurity company, opened a "storefront" Wednesday at JA Biztown, a mock city where students learn to run businesses. | [MALENA CAROLLO, Times]
  2. Love My Dog owner promises to treat dogs like her own

    Business

    SOUTH TAMPA — Lots of folks daydream about quitting their jobs to play with dogs, but shortly after moving to Florida 15 years ago, Natalie Conner actually did it.

    Some happy customers at the grand opening of Love My Dog Pet Resort’s third location in South Tampa on Oct. 14.
  3. Family brings edible cookie dough to Collins Produce stand

    Business

    VALRICO — Like anybody with a sweet tooth, Scott Laviano has been known to sneak behind his wife, Rose, while she bakes cookies and steal one of the dough balls from the baking sheet before it hits the oven.

    Scott, Rose and Scottie Laviano have opened Eddie Bull’s Cookie Dough inside Valrico’s Collins Produce.
  4. Philanthropist Helen DeVos, wife of Orlando Magic owner and mother of Betsy, dies at 90

    Obituaries

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Helen J. DeVos, a philanthropist from western Michigan known for her support of children's health, Christian education and the arts, has died at age 90, her family said Thursday.

    Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos, left, waves to fans while watching court side with his wife, Helen, during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Orlando. The family of Helen DeVos said the philanthropist from western Michigan known for her support of children's health, Christian education and the arts has died. She was 90. Her family said she died Wednesday, Oct. 18, of complications from a stroke following a recent diagnosis of myeloid leukemia. [Associated Press]
  5. Former Jabil executive again found guilty for 2008 double murders

    Criminal

    Patrick Evans, the former Jabil executive charged with the deaths of his wife and her friend, was found guilty by a jury Wednesday night.

    Patrick Evans talks with Allison Miller, one of his three public defenders, before jury selection continues in his trial Wednesday 10/11/2017. Patrick Evans, a former Jabil executive charged with killing his estranged wife and her friend almost ten years ago, was back in court for a second trial after his original death sentence conviction was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court.