The Real Deal New York

Manhattan office leasing volume lowest since December

By Adam Pincus | May 19, 2009 03:12PM

Law firm Latham & Watkins put 183,000 square feet of sublease space back on the market at 885 Third Avenue (left); financial firms Citigroup and Legg Mason returned 194,000 square feet at 399 Park Avenue.

The amount of vacant office space in Manhattan climbed while rents fell in April, the weakest month for leasing since December 2008, a report from CB Richard Ellis shows.

Last month, 790,000 square feet of space was leased in the borough, the lowest monthly tally since December, when 720,000 square feet was leased, the CBRE data indicates.

In Midtown, 490,000 square feet was leased, which represented just 43 percent of the five-year average of 1.3 million square feet, the company determined.

“Leasing velocity in Midtown remained slow,” the report said.

Adding to the difficult situation, major firms returned large blocks of space to the market.

The law firm Latham & Watkins put 183,000 square feet back onto the market in sublease space at 885 Third Avenue; and financial firms Citigroup and Legg Mason returned a total of 194,000 square feet to the market at 399 Park Avenue, CBRE said.

The vacancy rate in all of Manhattan hit 8.8 percent last month, up .3 points from a month earlier, while average asking rents fell $1.40 per square foot to $55.95 per square foot, the April CBRE report says.

In April 2008, the vacancy rate was 5.5 percent and the average price per square foot was $70.87, the company found.

In the first four months of 2009, 3.45 million square feet was leased, the data shows, compared to 6.49 million taken in the same period last year.

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