Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Price Edwards Report Forecasts Okla. City Office Market Turnaround

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Price Edwards Report Forecasts Okla. City Office Market Turnaround

Article excerpt

Despite the fact that Oklahoma City's office market experienced an increase in vacancy in 2003, a report released this week by a local commercial real estate firm indicated that 2004 should prove to be a turnaround year for the market.

According to Price Edwards & Co.'s 2003 Office Market Summary report, overall vacancy inched up to 21.7 percent last year from 20.7 percent in 2002. The downtown submarket experienced the most significant increase in vacancy to 30.6 percent from 27.6 percent the previous year, while the suburban market faired better with only a slight vacancy increase from 16.3 percent to 16.5 percent during the year.

The report said that the increase in downtown office vacancy was largely the result of the increase in inventory that resulted from Sonic relocating in late 2003 from its downtown location in the 101 Park Avenue building to its newly constructed 100,000-square-foot building located along the Bricktown Canal.

Although Sonic Corp. leased about 88,000 square feet at their new headquarters building, they vacated a like amount of space at their former location at 101 Park Avenue, said Price Edwards' office specialists in the report.

However, the report indicated the central business district could see a positive impact as a result of the conversion of the 500 Main Plaza building into The Montgomery apartments. Not only will the conversion instigate the relocation of the building's current tenants and ultimate absorption into other downtown buildings, Price Edwards officials also explained that The Montgomery could become a blueprint for other downtown Class C building owners that are looking to reinvent their properties.

What will bear watching with the 500 Main Plaza conversion is its success rate, the report noted. If it ultimately proves to be a success, we expect other older Class C office buildings to be converted to apartments or condos also. That trend is bearing out in other cities across the country.

Located at 500 W. Main St., The Montgomery is being renovated by local developer Richard I. Tanenbaum into a 56-unit boutique apartment building feature several upscale amenities.

In looking ahead to the remainder of the year, the report noted that vacancy and rental rates in downtown office buildings should remain near current levels. …

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