Commercial crunch

Low vacancy rates for class A space

Throughout Lee County, finding suitable class A office space is a growing challenge for companies moving to or expanding in the area.

The CB Richard Ellis semi-annual inventory for Lee County shows a drop in vacancy rates from 18.8 percent in 2003 to 10.2 percent in January of 2005. These latest figures should spur on new construction as developers are generally interested in building spec office space when vacancy rates drop below 10 percent.

Downtown Ft. Myers is a particularly tight market recently made more challenging by the County's purchase of the SunTrust Bank Building, eliminating this space as commercial rental property.

Cape Coral, with its near zero commercial vacancy rate, presents an even bigger challenge for companies seeking space. With a population that recently exceeded 138,000, the Cape will have increasing needs for commercial space. The underlying problem is that only 8 percent of the cape is zoned for commercial and industrial use. This commercial zoning shortage dates back to the early development strategy of Gulf American Corporation.

Locations in Ft. Myers west of I-75 near RSW, including Metco Parkway and the newly opened Treeline Avenue are ripe for significant new commercial development.

Office Supplies [Gulfshore Business Online]

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