NAI Avant: Columbia Office Vacancy Declines


percentage downThe Columbia office market saw a vacancy of 9.4% at the close of the first quarter 2017, decreasing from 9.8% at the end of 2016. Average rental rates dropped modestly and leveled off at $17.31 square feet (SF), following the highest rate in two years at $17.49 SF in 4Q16. Net absorption for the Columbia office market was positive ±78,643 SF in the first quarter compared to negative ±23,183 SF in 4Q16, the majority of absorption reflecting Class A space.

Continued interest in the Central Business District (CBD) explains the high rental rates (even with a slight downtick this quarter) while costs for tenant improvements are also increasing. Many local tenants are following the lead of companies like Electric Guard Dog, vacating their space in suburban Columbia to set up their headquarters in ±20,572 SF at the new Innovation Center on the University of South Carolina campus. Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP is another example of the desire to be the in heart of the CBD, vacating its office on Hampton Street and subleasing ±8,760 SF of Class A tower space at 1221 Main Street.


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