Occupants wanted

  • By Eric Fetters / Herald Writer
  • Friday, July 2, 2004 9:00pm
  • Business

Despite a few notable lease deals and signs of an improving economy, the amount of vacant office space in Snohomish County grew during the second quarter.

The county’s vacancy rate rose from 20 percent to more than 23 percent, according to the Seattle office of the CB Richard Ellis commercial brokerage firm.

The average asking rate for office space also dropped by about 1 percent.

Those discouraging trends should reverse by the end of the year, however, thanks primarily to the recent sale of two office buildings in Lynnwood.

The empty buildings in the Quadrant I-5 Center on 44th Avenue W. contain 235,000 square feet. Their new owners, Mortgage Investment Lending Associates Inc. and Nova-Tech Engineering, plan to move in later this year.

Even though the two companies won’t fill all the space in the buildings they bought, they will noticeably reduce the vacancy rate in the second half of this year, said Ric Brandt, a senior associate with CB Richard Ellis.

Aside from those deals, smaller office spaces also are attracting more interest, Brandt said.

“We’re not only seeing more activity, but we’re seeing more deals actually get done,” Brandt said.

Snohomish County wasn’t the only area to see more office space come on the market during the past three months. The office vacancy rate for the entire Puget Sound region also went up slightly, from 16.3 percent to 16.4 percent, according to CB Richard Ellis’ report.

The property firm also noted that Snohomish County continues to have the highest vacancy rate for industrial space in the Puget Sound region. At the end of the second quarter, more than 21 percent of the market’s industrial space stood empty.

Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or fetters@heraldnet.com.

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