A Small Hiccup on the Road to Improvement

Market Overview

Despite decreased vacancy rates in recent quarters, the Greenville, South Carolina office market experienced a small setback resulting from an increase of 55 basis points from year-end 2013 to a total vacancy rate of 18.90% at the end of the first quarter of 2014.  The increase is mostly attributed to the suburban submarkets, but the Central Business District also had a slight increase in vacancy over the quarter.  Average asking rental rates were up to $17.81 per square foot per year at the end of the first quarter from $16.97 per square foot per year at the end of 2013. 

Central Business District Submarket

Greenville’s Central Business District (CBD) ended the first quarter of 2014 with a vacancy rate of 17.87%, up 28 basis points from year-end 2013.  Leasing velocity was slow but is anticipated to pick up.   Overall average asking rental rates were up to $19.90 per square foot per year from $19.02 at the end of the previous quarter.  Class A and B average asking rental rates were $20.88 and $18.75, respectively.  

The multi-million dollar renovations to the Bank of America Tower began and include lobby renovations, elevator upgrades and a new glass façade for the building.  The first floor of the building is to include retail space.  Hughes Development Corp. acquired the 196,000 square foot building for $9.8 million during the first quarter of 2013.  The office building is next to a new 474 space parking garage and 144-room Aloft Hotel.

The main story in the CBD continues to be multifamily developments.  The growth and attractiveness of the CBD is motivating developers to construct new mixed-use and multifamily complexes in an effort to transform Greenville’s CBD into a true work and play environment.

  • Phoenix-based Alliance Residential Co. plans to build a 4-story 257 unit apartment complex at the former site of Greenville Memorial Auditorium at North Church Street, East North Street and Beattie Place.  
  • Michigan-based Edward Rose Associates plans to develop 330 new units on 23.4 acres.  The project will include 198 one-bedroom units and 132 two-bedroom units in 9 three-story buildings.  The complex, also to include 587 parking spaces and a community building with pool, is to be located at Fairforest Way and Wenwood Road.
  • The Beach Company broke ground on a 360-unit multifamily mixed-use development on South Church Street and University Ridge.  The development, to be called South Ridge, will include 10,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, a 400 space parking garage and is to be complete in two years with the first phase of units becoming available for occupancy in early 2015.
  • The Beach Company is also planning a mixed-use development at Stone Avenue and Main Street.

Residential and retail development is vital to creating a work and play downtown atmosphere.  The recent completion of Project ONE in Greenville’s downtown introduced new office and retail space to the area drawing a greater crowd to the CBD.  Successful completion of multifamily developments will help keep them downtown to work, dine and entertain.

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