Economic unrest, corporate infidelity and pending military conflicts in the Middle East make 2002 a year not to be relived for the nation. The impact on the Charleston office market made for sluggish first and second quarters, belt tightening intra-market moves in the third quarter, and finally optimistic expansions and relocations in the fourth quarter. On the strength of third and fourth quarter activity, the overall Charleston market experienced increased inventory, decreased rates, increased concessions, decreased vacancy and positive absorption.
The completion of renovations to the Charleston County Courthouse complex and subsequent relocation of court related offices back downtown created a positive absorption on the strength of legal and government tenants. The market continues to grow with the construction of two significant Class A user properties and the anticipation of other speculative development of underutilized parcels. Greater vacancy will occur in the market in the second and third quarters as anchor/owners move from existing buildings Into the newly constructed buildings. The resulting vacancies will likely be back-filled by service sector tenants including legal, accounting, insurance, financial and real estate interests.
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