Vacancies vary county to county in first quarter

Vacancy and asking lease rates varied among South Florida’s submarkets in the first quarter, according to a quarterly office market report from CB Richard Ellis released today.

By the end of the first quarter of 2009, vacancies in the downtown Miami area had increased 2 percent year-over-year to 9.6 percent. Asking rents also went up by $0.88 per square foot from the first quarter of 2008. The submarket also saw a slight increase in asking rates from first-quarter 2008 to first-quarter 2009 of $0.88 per square foot, according to the report. The report noted that several large upcoming projects, Bayfront Plaza in 2011 and Worldcenter, a 20-year, 12 million-square-foot development, are going to bring additional space onto the market.

As in downtown Miami, vacancy in Miami Beach has increased slightly since the first quarter of 2008. But Miami Beach’s vacancy rate still remains one of the lowest in the country, at 7.2 percent, according to the report. The vacancy rate represents a significant shift from three years ago, when Miami Beach had one of the highest vacancy rates in the county. The change may be attributed to demand factors such as tenant expansion and migration to the area, coupled with limited new development.

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Vacancy rates in the West Palm Beach office market also rose, to 22.6 percent in the first quarter from 21.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008. Average asking rents fell slightly, to $21.60 per square foot from $21.99 at the same time last year. The amount of sublease space on the market has grown to 105,901 square feet.

In neighboring Boca Raton, sublease office space is also on the rise, with 420,764 square feet of sublease space available. Penn-Florida Realty Corporation’s Via Mizner project will bring an additional 70,000 square feet of office space into the market. TRD