Commercial Real Estate Movement in Southwest Florida

March 23, 2012 / Elizabeth Buckley, Commercial Property Analyst

Sarasota Florida has seen movement in the commercial properties market in the past few months. For example, the Hoveround Corporation that manufactures electric scooters for the disabled, relocated and Lennar Corporation, home builder vacated the Gateway Professional Center.

Commercial Real Estate Movement in Southwest Florida

There has been marginal reduction in office buildings rentals as of the first quarter. Overall, Overall empty offices decreased in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Commercial properties decreased in the recent weeks as reported by realty and economic agencies in the two counties.  Vacancy is currently at approximately 2.3 million square feet.

Realtors view class A buildings as being newer with all modern amenities. A class B rental is more than 25 years old. The trend has been for commercial businesses to move from class A to class B rentals. The class A space now has an additional 27,500 feet more sitting empty. Conversely, rental activity in the class B buildings, increased and 17,900 square feet have been filled.

One commercial broker claims rentals are seeing lateral movement. Some landlords are seeing a gain and some are experiencing additional vacancies. Recovery in the rental market will be in conjunction with the jobs market, which is growing strong. Sarasota and Manatee counties saw a 3.8 percent increase during the past year, stronger growth than in any other Florida location.

For example, vacancies in the Penn West complex declined from 14 to 5 percent.  A major tenant plans to increase its number of employees by 50 percent. Available space is attracting foreign interest due to the lowered rates, which are the result of decreased values of commercial properties.

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