Year-End 2003 Industrial Market
The Midlands Region witnessed a downturn in the industrial and distribution sector for the second consecutive year. Heavy losses in the local manufacturing and transportation/warehousing sectors led to the closing of several large manufacturing and distribution facilities in the Columbia area. Combined these sectors lost 2,300 jobs over the previous 12-month period ending in November.
As a result, vacancies rose to 15.4% in the fourth quarter, from 13.4% a year ago, resulting in negative absorption of more than one million SF. This was in spite of the fact that there was virtually no new industrial construction or development activity during 2003.
Significant contributors to this year’s vacancy rate and negative absorption were the closing of ReturnBuy.com (253,000 SF) and Pirelli Cable (263,000 SF) in Lexington County. Also in Lexington, Michelin vacated 110,000 SF of leased warehouse space. In Kershaw County, Howden Fan vacated its 78,000 SF manufacturing plant. On the plus side, in Calhoun County, the former 84,600 SF Thomas and Betts plant has been acquired and Trane Corp. purchased and occupied the 322,000 SF AMBAC facility in northeast Richland County. Most lease transactions that took place over the past year were for small deals totaling less than 20,000 SF.
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