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Downtown Growth Continues in Tough Times

January 30,2009

Ask a long distance runner the secret to being competitive. Then you’ll have the answer of why Downtown Atlanta’s commercial market leasing over the last two years has been astonishingly robust, and has even outpaced more touted submarkets in Atlanta – some which are now facing huge drops in office space absorption.

“We’re on a well-paced, steady course with our commercial growth and for the first time in decades we’ve been in first place two years in a row for net office space absorption in the metro region,” said A.J. Robinson, President of Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District.

“Last year, we sprinted a bit and moved up in the rankings with more than a 640,000 sq. ft. positive net absorption swing according to Dorey’s. This year, in an extremely volatile market, we’ve not only held our own, we’ve again snagged the winning place on the podium,” said Robinson.

Even with the economy heading into a nose dive during most 2008, Downtown absorbed 627, 529 sq. ft. of office space, according to Jones Lang LaSalle. “We’d consider than something to cheer about in the current office climate. Plus, it’s good to know that both these sources are getting a clear and consistent ‘read’ on our leasing growth.”

“Having a lineup of spanking new office space is always exciting. People love to talk about it,” said Robinson. “However, in this environment, filling existing office space might be more important in solidifying your market, and that’s where we are.”

According to the real estate firm Colliers International, nationally downtown vacancies rose in the fourth quarter. The report went on to note that Downtown Atlanta’s current level of vacancies were even better than in 2007, bucking a national trend for urban cores throughout the country. “To be the reverse of the loss trends in urban centers throughout the country speaks well for our Downtown market,” said Robinson.

“Building a stable commercial office submarket is definitely not a sprint race, it’s a marathon and we are proud of all our commercial property owners.”