Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Something's Coming' in St. Louis Office Market

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Something's Coming' in St. Louis Office Market

Article excerpt

Someone at Colliers International, a commercial real estate firm, turned to "West Side Story" to describe the current St. Louis office market.

Modest wage and employment growth should produce more demand for office space, Colliers said in its third quarter report on the area's market.

Put another way as the report's headline puts it "Something's Coming, Something Big." The headline is a play on a line from "Something's Coming," a "West Side Story" song written by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

In the groundbreaking musical that opened on Broadway in 1957, the line is "something's coming, something's good." Colliers modified the line to declare that even though the area's wage and growth rate is low, good times await the office market. The company said in its new report it expects a strong local office market for the next few quarters because companies are expanding and looking for larger blocks of contiguous space.

The Clayton and midtown St. Louis submarkets should continue strong growth, said Colliers, adding that those areas have gained 190,000 square feet of office occupancy this year. Much of the midtown growth is at Cortex, the life sciences district that has lured Cambridge Innovation Center and other companies.

Downtown St. Louis, by far the big dog in the region's nearly 50 million-square-foot office market, is the runt of the litter when it comes to growth. Downtown's vacancy rate of 20 percent is only slightly lower from early this year. Slowing falling vacancy and flat rental rates should continue, Colliers said.

Sarah Hakes, a Colliers researcher, said the region's tightening office market doesn't mean much construction is about to commence. She said big office buildings will go up only if a developer finds a major tenant first.

Another commercial real estate firm, Jones Lang LaSalle, said in its latest report that strong activity among tenants needing more than 25,000 square feet of office space might prompt some construction soon in Clayton and west St. …

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