Realizing The Recovery
The Charleston industrial market continues to tighten. Vacancy rates for the entire market are 10.9%, a decrease from 11.7% at year end 2011. Average asking rental rates have held steady at just over $4.00 per square foot with landlord concessions waning. The overall market saw positive absorption in the first quarter of approximately 250,000 SF. This is the fourth consecutive quarter the industrial market reported positive absorption; confirming market recovery. Class A, bulk warehouse space contributed the most to absorption. Charleston presently has few options for Class A industrial product. Companies expanding or relocating are finding options limited and are choosing build-to-suit options or leasing older, well located facilities.
Port and Distribution
The Port of Charleston reported a 12% increase in container volume from the same month last year. The increasing trend is primarily due to a new Europe service. BMW exports and other roll-on/roll-off cargo type saw the best month since March 2008. Tonnage shipped is up over 20% from the previous year.
State legislature passed a bill to provide $120 million for harbor deepening in addition to the $180 million the state has already set aside. The dredging project will allow the port to handle fully loaded vessels well into the future.
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