Why suburban office landlords are breathing a bit easier these days

Vacancy outlook was best in the O’Hare submarket, worst in the NW suburbs

GE Healthcare in Barrington (Credit: Google Maps)
GE Healthcare in Barrington (Credit: Google Maps)

Suburban office landlords around Chicago can finally let out a sigh of relief: the vacancy rate hasn’t risen for a second consecutive quarter.

Vacancy remained at 23.3 percent in the first quarter, according to data from brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle.

The fact the rate remained unchanged from the end of 2017 was good news for suburban landlords dealing with downsizing companies and those moving Downtown, JLL’s Andrea Van Gelder told Crain’s.

“Stable vacancy is a positive thing,” she said.

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Leading the way with a 14.3 percent vacancy rate was the O’Hare submarket, where Angelo Gordon just picked up the 835,000-square-foot Presidents Plaza for $148 million.

Conversely, the rate in the northwest suburbs increased to 31.3 percent, a record high, thanks in part to a 253,000-square-foot vacancy left when GE Healthcare departed Barrington for a new headquarters Downtown.

Data from CBRE showed Downtown vacancy rates at 12.9 percent in the first quarter, down from 13.2 percent at the end of 2017.

The suburban market will continue to be challenged by large empty spaces previously occupied by single users, Van Gelder said.

Net absorption in the first quarter, meanwhile, was down by nearly 120,000 square feet, according to JLL. [Crain’s]  — John O’Brien

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