John Toomey III, CPM® is a Broker and Mobile New Business Development Coordinator in our Mobile, Alabama, office with over 30 years’ experience in the commercial real estate industry. He recently completed an Office Market Survey of the West Mobile and Mobile CBD markets, with plans to periodically update the survey to track trends and establish absorption rates.
Here’s an excerpt from John’s Market Assessment:
Our office market has seen challenging times the last five years. Some buildings have fared better than others in terms of occupancy. The good news is while the Mobile Office Market vacancy rate has been relatively stagnant, it has recently started to improve. The Downtown Mobile Alliance and the City of Mobile were successful in creating a statewide Historic Tax Credit in October 2013. After going into effect, this tax credit has been instrumental in spurring office redevelopment. Many historic, but vacant, buildings were revitalized using these tax credits and put back into commerce. One such example is the RSA Van Antwerp Building located in the CBD. This roughly 60,000 SF building has taken over 2 years to renovate and will open summer of 2015 with Phelps Dunbar and BBVA Compass Bank occupying most of the building, essentially pre-leasing nearly the entire building before it comes online.
We have seen a fair amount of leasing activity in our office market the last 12 to 18 months. Unfortunately, a lot of space was subleased, which does not have the desired effect on our rental rates and absorption rates. The Trustmark sublease at RSA Trustmark Building is an example. Newly restored buildings like RSA Van Antwerp Building add more inventory to the market. It is a positive step to see these buildings restored, but it remains to be seen how this will affect future rental and absorption rates.
In summary, we expect the office market to see leisurely positive growth in the future.
Please click here to view and download the PDF of the Mobile Office Market Survey. This survey provides a good summary of the Mobile office market and my hope is that it becomes a valuable resource in the market.