Atlanta Office Space - Slow Rebound
New commercial real estate reports indicate that Atlanta office rental rates are at 2004 levels. Scott Amoson, Director of Research for Colliers International in Atlanta, states that shows some stabilization, as the rate had been steadily declining. While the outlook for landlords still appears bleak, real estate experts are hopeful that job growth will pick up and improve these rental rates. The average rental rate was $20.06 per square foot in metro-Atlanta last quarter, according to data from real estate services firm, Jones Lang LaSalle. Colliers reported a very small uptick to $19.22 per square foot. While real estate firms may include different data in determining the rates, these rates appear consistent based upon those noted in the Buckhead area. The overall vacancy rate in metro-Atlanta rose very slightly in the quarter to 22.5%, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, and to 18.3% according to Colliers; the average between these two rates is 20.4%. David Rubenstein and Bogue Miller of CresaPartners, echo other real estate pundits in determining that the minimal job growth stunts new development, which is essentially non-existent. Their report, although not terribly pessimistic, indicates that the Atlanta job market is not expected to fully recover for three (3) years. On a positive note, Rubenstein and Miller indicate that it remains a good time for tenants to renew leases or look for new space. Law firms, while engaging into space sharing arrangements in order to reduce costs, and avoid "dark space," are also deciding to relocate. The law firm of Thompson Hine LLP,for instance, decided to relocate from Central Perimeter in Midtown into Buckhead. With an abundance of empty office space, due to the prior new construction "boom years," options in current include either staying in current law space and sub-leasing or moving to a different location. Law firms are weighing these considerations and investigating the scope of landlord concessions. Vacant law office space is a burden for all those involved, and options in this market are available to tenants - move or sublease law space.