- The Columbia, South Carolina medical office market continues to change due to the volume of new medical office buildings which have been completed during the past twelve months and those scheduled to be completed during the coming year. The medical office market in Columbia was comprised of approximately 780,000 square feet of space just twenty-four months ago. As of mid year 2000, the market contained a total of 1,225,000 square feet of completed space or space nearing completion. This is an increase of 445,000 square feet of medical office space during the past two years.
- The total occupancy of the 1.225 million square foot medical office market as of mid year 2000 was 91.6% inclusive of the pre-leasing of new medical office space currently under construction. This level of occupancy has increased from mid year 1999 when the occupancy rate was 86.6%. However, it is important to note that some of this space is being occupied as administrative space for the four hospitals. Many of the newer medical office buildings contain physician practice space, physician time share units, hospital administrative space and space utilized as building amenities such as conference rooms, deli/food service and auditoriums.
- The medical office market in Columbia is predominantly controlled by the four major hospitals operating within the Columbia metropolitan area. The four hospitals include Lexington Medical Center, Providence Hospital and The Palmetto Health Alliance, which is comprised of Palmetto Baptist Medical Center and Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital.
- Average rental rates for medical office space have continued to increase during the past twelve months, as new, higher quality medical space with better amenities is being leased at rates higher than existing space. During the coming twelve months, rates are expected to continue to increase further due to the limited amount of available medical office space within the market, coupled with the increasing costs of physician tenant improvements and escalating building operating expenses.
- The forecast for the medical office market in Columbia is positive as hospitals continue to seek alliances with physician practices to occupy available medical office space. Physician practices continue to expand their services responding to the rapid growth of healthcare in the Midlands of South Carolina. However, due to recent restructuring efforts by Palmetto Health Alliance, there is also some uncertainty over the direction of healthcare relationships in the foreseeable future.
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