Friday, April 17, 2009

Downtown Dallas bucks trend with increase in office building occupancy

Downtown Dallas was the only major U.S. central business district that saw an increase in office building occupancy during the first quarter, according to a new report by Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

Overall vacancy in Dallas’ core fell slightly to 27.2 percent compared with 27.6 percent at the end of 2008, the real estate service firm said Thursday.

Nationwide average downtown office vacancies rose to 12.5 percent from 11.2 percent at the end of last year. That’s the highest downtown vacancy average since 2006.

Net leasing in downtown Dallas during the first three months of 2009 added up to almost 100,000 square feet.

Across the country, downtown office leasing activity fell by almost 40 percent in the first quarter, Cushman & Wakefield said. And center city rents dropped by more than 2 percent.

But in Dallas, first-quarter net leasing was up a bit from a year earlier and average quoted rents were virtually unchanged.

Downtown Dallas office rents which average under $20 per square foot are about half the national average for central business districts.

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By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News