TAMPA — The improving jobs market is signaling a potential power shift in the commercial real estate office market, from tenants to landlords, according to a new report from CBRE.
Tampa Bay submarkets that may benefit most from the economic upswing include those with a higher volume of job-producing industries, including the central business district, Westshore, downtown St. Petersburg, and the Mid-Pinellas County area, according to CBRE's fourth quarter report.
Another trend spurring office leasing is that many companies are choosing to move their offices back to downtown areas. For landlords with space to fill, the task will be to identify and acquire high-quality tenants in established or growing industries. In Tampa Bay, that means finance, higher education, health care and technologies, CBRE notes.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, the office vacancy rate in Tampa Bay was 22.3%. It fell to 18.8% in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The Tampa Bay unemployment rate dropped from 10.3% in November 2011 to 8.1% by November 2012. The uptick in job creation is expected to further decrease vacancy rates, CBRE's research staff concludes.
Among companies on the move, WellCare and the International Academy of Design & Technology are in the market for space, while the law firm GrayRobinson recently moved from Tampa City Center to an expanded layout of 38,000 square feet at SunTrust Financial Center, according to CBRE.
Meanwhile, the tech firm (ISC)2 is scheduled to move into a new 21,059-square-foot space at Park Place in Clearwater in the second quarter.