Office vacancy rate hits highest point since 2005 during Q4: C&W

Ottawa’s office vacancy rate climbed to its highest level in nearly a decade during the last quarter of 2013, according to Cushman & Wakefield Ottawa – a trend that it said may slow down in the new year.

he city-wide vacancy rate hit 8.2 per cent in the fourth quarter, the report said. The 0.3-percentage point increase from the previous quarter helped push the rate to its highest level since 2005.

However Cushman & Wakefield Ottawa outlined factors that could slow the upward climb starting this year.

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“Although the office market is not expected to accelerate in a dramatic fashion in 2014, the market will benefit from four new construction completions,” the report read.

For example, it pointed out that Ottawa’s Shopify will be moving from 17,000 square feet of space in the ByWard Market to 100,000 square feet of space at Morguard’s new Performance Court building at 150 Elgin St.

Cushman & Wakefield Ottawa also drew attention to Bona Building and Development Co.’s 273,000-square foot building in Vanier, which is being built without a confirmed tenant.

The other projects referenced in the report include the federal government’s 646,000-square foot project at 90 Elgin St. and the 100,000-square foot building at 979 Bank St., both of which are expected to open sometime in 2014.

A higher vacancy rate in the area closest to the Parliament Buildings helped the city-wide increase.

The downtown core’s rate rose 0.3 percentage points to 7.4 per cent. The central area – which includes Centretown and the ByWard Market in addition to downtown – increased to 7.2 per cent from 6.7 per cent the previous quarter.

The suburban rate also jumped, reaching 9.1 per cent after hitting 8.9 per cent during the third quarter.

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