Following a strong performance in the first quarter of 2016, Pittsburgh’s office market ended the second quarter with similar strength, boasting a vacancy rate of just 7.7%. The average rental rate, over all classes, finished at a solid $20.40 per square foot.
Overall, Pittsburgh’s Central Business District (CBD) posted a declining vacancy rate of 8.3%, down over 0.5% from this time last quarter. The average asking rental rate per square foot for all classes in the CBD remained steady from previous quarters reaching $23.66 per square foot. The average asking rental rate for Class “A” buildings in the CBD was just over $26.65 per square foot with Class ”B” reaching an average of $20.60 per square foot. We can expect overall rental rates in the CBD to increase due to the two large renovations underway to include: the 529,000 square foot Liberty Center and the 1,011,000 square foot One Oxford Centre. The buildings are currently quoting $33.00 and $34.00, respectively.
Similarly, Pittsburgh’s suburban office market remained strong. The end of the second quarter showed a 7.4% vacancy rate compared to the first quarter’s vacancy rate of 7.9%. The average rental rate for Class “A” buildings in the suburban office markets reached $23.43 per square foot with Class “B” attaining rates of $19.36 per square foot. Both classes demonstrated an increase from the previous quarter. Suburban submarkets, such as the Parkway West, have retained large amounts of Class “A” inventory providing sizeable users with options in the market.
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Office Market May be Nearing Peak
At the conclusion of 2015, Pittsburgh’s office market is beginning to show
signs of peaking. Overall office vacancy rates for the 4th quarter increased
slightly over 3rd quarter results from 8.1% vacant to 8.3% vacant at year
end. Rental rates for office space in all submarkets and classes decreased
slightly in the 4th quarter to $20.51/sf, from $20.55/sf in the 3rd quarter, or
a 0.02% decrease.
Pittsburgh’s CBD had a few notable transactions in 2015. PNC moved
into its new Platinum LEED Certified 800,000 SF office tower located at
300 Fifth Avenue in the 4th quarter. PPG Industries, Inc. maintained its
headquarter presence at One PPG Place, renewing approximately 300,000
SF there. In November 2015, US Steel Corporation announced it would not
be moving forward with a planned “300,000 SF Build-to-Suit” at the site of
the former Civic Arena, instead, electing to extend its lease commitment at
600 Grant Street for one more year through the summer of 2018. Millcraft’s
Tower Two-Sixty, a mixed use development including office, retail and a
hotel adjacent to the vibrant Market Square, signed three office leases and is
closing in on 80% occupancy prior to the planned Spring 2016 completion
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Q4 2014 Static Finish to the Year
The fourth quarter of 2014 finished without the anticipated flourish that it was trending toward. Vacancy actually crept up three basis points from 7.2% to 7.5% while absorption for the quarter experienced a negative 591,656 square feet. This is the largest negative quarter since 2009 and all others, with the exception of the second quarter of 2014, were positive. Even with the market giving back close to 600,000 square feet in the fourth quarter and 300,000 square feet in the second quarter, the year end absorption number was still a rosy 675,000 square feet.
At least a portion of the negative absorption in the fourth quarter of 2014 can be attributed to American Eagle officially bringing their 440,000 square foot distribution facility in Thorn Hill Industrial Park to market. It would be remiss not to credit a portion of the slow down to the sudden and unexpected drop in oil prices with prices under $60.00 per barrel, and for a brief time under $50.00, suddenly uncertainty spread into the previously teflon-coated energy sector. While this is anticipated to be a minor blip on the radar, it is fully expected to bleed into the first quarter of 2015, negatively impacting deal volume although not necessarily slowing advancement of projects by larger players in the sector.
Deals of significance in the fourth quarter include the sale of 367 Morganza Road, a Colliers International | Pittsburgh listing, in Washington County to National Rubber. The 65,700 square foot building traded at $52.00 per square foot. Edward Marc Brands leased 50,000 square feet in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh and R&N Steel Manufacturing leased 70,000 square feet at 3401 Grand Avenue on Neville Island. Evidence of the trend noted on the back page of this report, 6500 Hamilton Avenue a 60,000 square foot multistory building in the red hot east side sold for $14.00 per square foot. The new owner plans to convert the former warehouse building to a higher and better use.
Evidence of the trend noted on the back page of this report, 6500 Hamilton Avenue a
60,000 square foot multistory building in the red hot east side sold for $14.00 per square
foot. The new owner plans to convert the former warehouse building to a higher and
Click here to see the full Q4 2014 Pittsburgh Industrial Market Report.
Q2 2014 Pittsburgh Still Positive
Although deal volume in the second quarter was not as robust as the first, activity remained brisk. The expectation is that the third quarter will bring more transactions from the tenants and buyers currently scouring the market. Scouring is the appropriate term given the only potential impediment to increased activity is the lack of quality options for users to move on.
The stats point to a marginal decrease in absorption of 233,000 square feet yet for the calendar year, we are still 600,000 square feet positive. The expectation is that the third quarter will be back on the right side of the ledger, particularly with the early quarter announcement by Amazon that they are leasing the 200,000 square feet of remaining space in 2250 Roswell Drive. This leaves only two quality availabilities in excess of 100,000 square feet remaining in the Greater Pittsburgh market.