- The Columbia, SC medical office market continues to perform very well given the changes occurring in the medical community. As of mid-year 2001, the market consists of approximately 1.2 million square feet of Medical Office Building (MOB) space in the Columbia area. Medical office space which was constructed during the years of 1999 and 2000 has leased very well during the past year as medical practices continue to expand in size and in the number of offices.
- As of mid-year 2001, the overall occupancy of the MOBs was 85.1 %. This occupancy is down slightly from mid-year 2000. The reduction in occupancy is due to several factors. Some space which was previously utilized by area hospitals as administrative space is now classified as medical office space. Additionally larger practices have shown a preference for their own free-standing facilities in close proximity to hospitals. Lastly, additional medical office space has been completed over the past twelve months, some of which has not been leased.
- The medical office market in Columbia is predominantly controlled by the four major hospitals operating within the 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 increased slightly as they did during the prior year. Medical space which has recently been constructed with higher quality finishes, better amenities and more efficiencies is being leased at rates higher than older existing space. The average rental rate for medical office space in Columbia stands at $18.45 per square foot. Rates are expected to continue to increase further due to the limited amount of quality medical office space within certain markets coupled with the increasing costs of physician tenant improvements.
- 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. With the re-acquisition of 100% ownership of Providence Hospital by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, and as Palmetto Baptist considers development of its northwest campus, we envision continued growth of medical space within Columbia in the next few years.
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