Monday, June 25, 2018
Business

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.

Comments
Norwegian Airlines offers direct flights from Tampa to London-Gatwick

Norwegian Airlines offers direct flights from Tampa to London-Gatwick

TAMPA — Norwegian Airlines announced Monday it will start direct flights twice a week between Tampa International Airport and London Gatwick effective Oct. 31, giving Tampa International Airport another much-desired international flight.Bookings were...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Office building demolition at Midtown Tampa site proves tougher than expected

Office building demolition at Midtown Tampa site proves tougher than expected

TAMPA — Stripped to the girders, the old Bromley office building looked about as substantial as fish bones on a dinner plate.But the 5-story structure proved Sunday it still had a surprising amount of fight left in it.A demolition team had planned to...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
President Trump’s trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

President Trump’s trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

STERLING, Ill. - As a longtime editor of small-town newspapers, Jeff Rogers has seen his industry face the collapse of print advertising, the rise of the internet and more. Today, his 18 employees work in a newsroom here that puts out two daily newsp...
Published: 06/24/18
Making the case for more drones

Making the case for more drones

BLACKSBURG, Va. - They considered how well everyone slept the night before. They considered the chances a military jet might scream by on a training mission. They considered the farmer in the field.Then they considered some more.After making it throu...
Published: 06/24/18
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Published: 06/22/18
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Published: 06/22/18
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Published: 06/22/18
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Published: 06/22/18
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Published: 06/22/18