Office space increases by 10M feet in 2009

By Adam Pincus | May 08, 2009 04:50PM

In the first four months of the year, the total amount office space available for lease in Manhattan increased by nearly 10 million square feet, a figure that equaled the increase for all 12 months of 2008, data from real estate advisory firm Newmark Knight Frank shows.

From January through April, the negative net absorption was 9.98 million square feet, versus 9.91 million square feet in all of 2008, Newmark found.

Real estate researchers use the term negative net absorption to describe the quantity of office space made available through direct or sublease space subtracted by space removed from the market through leasing.

The 19.9 million square feet of negative net absorption in 2008 and 2009 cuts deeply into the 34 million square feet in positive net absorption that grew through a strong uptick in leasing between 2003 and 2007.

“We have basically given back 60 percent of the gains that we had made,” since 2003, said Paul Frischer, Newmark’s executive managing director of research and real estate strategies.

Some large blocks that were dumped onto the market and contributed to the growth of available space in Manhattan this year were 114,000 square feet from law firm Loeb & Loeb at 345 Park Avenue and 84,000 square feet from financial firm Assured Guaranty at 1251 Avenue of the Americas, data from real estate service firm CB Richard Ellis shows.

Despite the sharp spike this year, the 19.9 million square feet of negative net absorption remains below the levels seen in 2001 and 2002, when the combined figure was 32 million square feet, Newmark found.