Downtown Class A office market improves

The Class A office space market in downtown Milwaukee continues to show strength, and the vacancy rate dipped from 8.2 percent at the end of 2007 to 7.9 percent as of March 31, according to a new report from Boston-based Colliers International.

Downtown Milwaukee has an inventory of 6.8 million square feet of Class A office space, according to Colliers International. The company’s local affiliate is Milwaukee-based Colliers Barry.

The downtown Milwaukee Class A office space vacancy rate is better than the national average of 9.1 percent, according to the Colliers report. The highest downtown Class A office space vacancy rate in the country is in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., with a 22.3 percent vacancy rate. The lowest is in downtown Charlotte, N.C., with a 0.7 percent vacancy rate, according to the report. Chicago has a downtown Class A office space vacancy rate of 12.6 percent.

However, the vacancy rate for all of Milwaukee’s downtown office space rose a bit in the first quarter, from to 14.9 percent from 14.6 percent. The national downtown office space vacancy rate is 11.0 percent.

Downtown Milwaukee has a total office space inventory of 16.8 million square feet.

In the suburbs, Milwaukee has a 11.5 percent office space vacancy rate, which has held steady since the end of 2007, but the Class A office space vacancy rate fell from 16.2 percent at the end of the year to 14.3 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2008.

Nationally, the suburban office space vacancy rate is 13.8 percent and the suburban Class A office space vacancy rate is 13.1 percent, according to the Colliers report.

The Milwaukee area has 40 million square feet of suburban office space and 7.1 million square feet of Class A suburban office space.

For industrial space, the Milwaukee area’s vacancy rate held steady during the first quarter of 2008, remaining at 7.4 percent, according to Colliers International, which forecasts that vacancy rate, absorption and rents for industrial space in the Milwaukee area will remain the same during the next quarter.

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