Low Office Vacancy Rates Hold Steady

by George Waldon  on Monday, Jul. 29, 2013 12:00 am  

Occupancy in the Pulaski County office market tightened slightly to 88 percent during the past 12 months, according to the Central Arkansas Commercial Data Exchange. The spring 2012 occupancy rate was 86.3 percent.

The exchange, an affiliation of local commercial real estate professionals who pool sales and leasing information for office, retail and industrial properties tracked 264 office buildings with a combined 14 million SF.

Local market conditions compare favorably with the national average vacancy rate of 16 percent, according to numbers compiled by the National Association of Realtors.

“The Little Rock office market continues to be steady as she goes with little change in occupancy since second quarter 2012,” said Greg Joslin, sales associate at Little Rock’s Irwin Partners. “The overall central Arkansas office market is currently experiencing one of the lowest office vacancy rates at 12 percent when compared nationally.”

Office occupancy among 76 buildings with a combined 6.4 million SF is about 11.8 percent in the downtown Little Rock market.

Only about 7,800 SF of unleased office space remains at the Mann on Main project at 318-324 Main St. in downtown Little Rock. Redevelopment of the long-vacant, 140,000-SF properties includes a mix of office, residential and ground floor retail.

Three state agencies (Office of Child Support Enforcement, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy and Crime Information Center) have filled most of the project’s 100,000 SF of office space.

“The response and activity we’ve had there remains very, very good,” said John Martin, senior broker at Little Rock’s Moses Tucker Real Estate Inc. “We anticipated having that building fully leased in the short-term.”

Moses Tucker is developing the Mann on Main project with the Doyle Rogers Co.

The relocation of OCSE offices will leave the Arkla Plaza vacant at 400 E. Capitol Ave. The 57,688-SF building, once the headquarters of Arkansas Louisiana Gas Co., is earmarked for demolishing and the 2-acre site for redevelopment.

“We think Main Street will mature and stabilize over the next year or so,” Martin said. “Development should begin to spread from Main along Capitol Avenue, where there needs to be a refocus and recommitment.”

Construction started in May on the $18 million Midtown Medical Park project in Little Rock. The four-story, 72,000-SF medical office building should be completed in a year.



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