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Industrial market vacancy rate dips in second half of 2012


Staff Report
Published Feb. 7, 2013

The vacancy rate of the Columbia industrial market dipped to 8.78% at the end of 2012 with tenants moving into new spaces, expanding existing facilities or renewing their leases, according to a report released today by Colliers International.

Much of the activity in the second half of the year focused on northeast and southeast Columbia submarkets, the commercial real estate firm said.

The northeast, where there’s a majority of big-box spaces ranging between 100,000 and 350,000 square feet, had the highest vacancy rate at 25.38%, Colliers said. Some 1.3 million square feet remains on the market in northeast Columbia.

Still, the vacancy rate of northeast Columbia dropped 4.4% in the second half of 2012, Colliers said. That was the largest decrease of any of the area’s local submarkets.

The positive movement was paced by Jayco Inc.’s lease of 60,129 square feet at 850 Bookman Road and Carrier-Bryant Carolinas renewed its lease for 70,000 square feet at 230 Business Park Blvd.

The vacancy rate for southeast Columbia dropped 3.51% compared with the first half of 2012, Colliers said. Cherry Contracting’s lease of 31,672 square feet at 9790 Garners Ferry Road was a key transaction in the submarket.

Looking ahead, Colliers noted that two major industrial construction projects that total nearly 1.2 million square feet are under way in the Columbia market.

Florida-based Nephron Pharmaceuticals is building a 900,000-square-foot complex at Saxe Gotha Industrial Park, which is expected to be completed this spring.

Meanwhile, JTEKT Corp., an automotive supplier, is adding 267,000 square feet to its facility near Blythewood.

Overall, the Columbia industrial market consists of 625 buildings with 37.9 million square feet under roof. About 3.2 million square feet is vacant.

Colliers expects 2013 to be “fairly productive” with positive absorption, lower vacancy rates, and stabilizing rents and purchase prices.

“Companies confident in the future business cycle activity are more apt to consider purchasing property taking advantage of low prices of existing buildings and lower interest rates which equate to a lower occupancy cost when compared to leasing,” Colliers said.

“Landlords will be trying to re-position properties to create value by pushing for longer lease terms with credit-worthy tenants,” the report added.

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