Available office space pours into Midtown

New net available space is highest since mid-2009
By Adam PIncus | April 10, 2012 12:30PM

Tenants and landlords quietly added millions of square feet to the Midtown market, pushing up the amount of available space by a sizable 2.1 million square feet in the first quarter, figures from commercial firm CBRE Group released today reveal. The newly available blocks of space fueled the largest amount of negative net absorption since the second quarter of 2009 in the midst of the economic slowdown, an analysis of CBRE data by The Real Deal shows.

And there may be more space coming on line, even as top CBRE brokers do not expect much.

“It is mix and match stuff. There are no giant blocks of space,” Robert Alexander, a chairman at CBRE, said. “A bunch of institutions put 50,000 or 100,000 square feet on the market. We may see a little more this quarter, but I don’t think we will see anything overly significant.”

He and Michael Geoghegan, also a vice chairman, were speaking at a quarterly media briefing at the firm’s New York office this morning.

The Manhattan market overall took a break in the first quarter, Geoghegan said, because of global economic concerns.

“Tenants took a pause. They are waiting to see how the dust settles,” he said, even as he noted that Moody’s Economy.com predicted New York City would add more than 860,000 jobs between 2012 and 2016.

The overall asking rents in Manhattan rose a modest $0.13 per foot in April, compared with the prior month, reaching $54.53 per square foot. The overall availability rate was up by .2 points in April, to 11.1 percent, the CBRE figures show.

The rise in the availability rate was in part due to lackluster leasing activity. Tenants signed deals for 1.74 million square feet in April, down 14 percent from April 2011, CBRE statistics show.