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Commercial Real Estate Vacancies Continue to Mount in Fairfield County

Vacant commercial real estate in the Stratford/Shelton submarket rises 4.8 percent in the last year, according to a report.

The average vacancy rate for Class A commercial office space in Fairfield County increased from 20.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 21 percent in the first quarter of 2012, according to a report from commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.

According to the quarterly market report, the Stratford/Shelton submarket saw the largest increase in overall vacancy rates, rising from 8.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011 to 13.6 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

The increased vacancy rate in the Stratford/Shelton submarket is due in part to the 174,000 square feet of space that came on the market when .

Over the last several months Stratford Patch has put the spotlight on in town, including and the former property, both which remain empty.

As the vacancy rates have inched up, so too has the average rent per square foot. According to the report, the average rate in Fairfield County increased from $35.74 per square foot in the first quarter of 2011 to $36.57 per square foot in the first quarter of 2012.

Despite the increase in vacancy rates, "the investment sales market showed definite signs of improvement this quarter, with sustained increases in sales activity expected for the remainder of 2012," the commercial real estate firm emphasized.

"After a flurry of transactions that closed in 2011, the first quarter of 2012 was very quiet," said Jim Fagan, senior managing director and market leader of Cushman & Wakefield's Fairfield and Westchester County regions.

"Despite the lack of leasing activity and the increase in vacancy, however, asking rents, particularly in quality buildings, rose this quarter, as tenants seem willing to pay a premium for tenancy in these buildings," Fagan added.

Hal Baird April 27, 2012 at 12:23 PM
I have always had a problem with over development by those who build buildings for a living. If I were king of the world, a developer would have 3 years to reach 75% occupancy of a building. If that didn't happen, he would have to take down the building at his expense and replant grass/trees as open space. We have entirely too many empty buildings sitting on every imaginable piece of land.
Catmommie April 27, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Unfortunately, many parent companies of stores have a specific building style plan to follow (such as Circuit City, Caldor, or Bradlees), and when they have been abandoned, it's difficult for another store to "fit," without complicated renovations. The companies should be more adaptable.
A stupid taxpayer April 28, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Do you suppose the economy has anything to with these vacancies? Really- bad design or architecture of a building? Over development? Maybe in Vegas or Fla. Do you think the "great ones" experience at a fast food Burger King in Hawaii - saying "may I take your order" has anything to do with his magnificent skill at job creation? Fear not: I'm sure the GSA, Secret Service, EPA, IRS, DOJ, DOE, etc are going to add employees that will need lots of office space, hot tub & beds.

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