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TCN Metro experiencing a strong market throughout region.

TCN Metro, the premiere regionally-focused alliance of leading commercial real estate firms in the Metropolitan area, is experiencing very strong growth since its formation in January of 2001. Spanning the Connecticut, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey and New York City markets, TCN Metro services clients in the office, industrial and retail leasing and sales markets, while providing a full range of commercial real estate services including property, portfolio, asset and construction management.

TCN Metro is comprised of Chase Commercial of Stamford, Connecticut; Sutton & Edwards of Long Island, New York; The Schultz Organization of Northern and Central New Jersey; and Murray Hill Properties of New York City.

While the overall commercial real estate industry has experienced a national softening from its recent record setting pace, TCN Metro reports that the Metropolitan area shows signs of continued steady growth. In their respective core areas, the members of TCN Metro are successfully competing in niche markets throughout the region.

In Fairfield County, Conn. and Westchester County, N.Y., Chase Commercial/TCN Worldwide reports the following market conditions:

* Connecticut's Fairfield County and New York's Westchester County continue to attract a great majority of companies relocating to the areas. The region's appeal lies in its exceptional quality of life, a highly skilled employment base, a tremendously diverse population and a commerce environ ment not easily rivaled. In all sectors of the marketplace, including office, retail and industrial properties, conditions continue to remain stable. In the office space segment, there are a few leasing opportunities that have come available for the first time in the last few years. These openings represent an excellent time for corporations to be leasing space in the marketplace.

* Fairfield County is one of the hottest submarkets in the area. With an overall vacancy rate as low as 6%, high demand, and rents now averaging nearly $40 per SF for Class A office space and $70 per SF for retail space, conditions leave little room for doubt as to the sustainability of the region. Rents, though higher than those in New Jersey, Westchester and Long Island are still attractive in comparison to midtown Manhattan.

* Westchester County has slowly but surely decreased its overall vacancy rate to just over 10%. Class A office rents have approached $3.0 per SF, while good quality industrial rents have surpassed $10 per SF. Westchester continues to have large contiguous blocks of space available for large users, thus allowing for the continued migration of headquarter facilities from Manhattan.

* While positive market conditions have traditionally spurred new development, there is little threat of an 80's-like over development in the area. Almost 75% of the region's product was constructed' within the last twenty years, allowing very little need for massive redevelopment efforts. There are currently less than a dozen proposed projects in excess of 250,000 SF. Cautious developers and restrictive financing dictate securing anchor tenants which has led to groundbreaking at two of the sites.

* The local market's exposure to the volatile high-tech sector is minimal. Therefore, its effect on commercial real estate in the region is minimal as well.

* With an exceptional infrastructure and talented workforce enjoying a favorable quality of life, companies are less likely to stray from such a prosperous region. The market's overall positive conditions and the numerous strategic advantages that the region offers will continue to attract companies to the Fairfield County and Westchester County markets.

In the Long Island marketplace, Sutton & Edwards/TCN Worldwide reports the real estate market and overall economy remain strong. Several noteworthy trends in the marketplace are industrial buildings being converted into office space, still no significant new development and, in general, rents and vacancies are holding strong.

Long Island is uniquely positioned to remain a strong market because of several factors:

* Long Island is not dependent on one or two main industries. This diversity provides a buffer if one industry segment is in a slowdown, i.e. technology. Long Island's business base is compromised of growing companies in the consumer, business services and industrial marketplace.

* Long Island is essentially a unique marketplace in itself. Therefore, it's immune to trends that might be affecting the surrounding markets in Manhattan, Connecticut and New Jersey.

* One of the newest phenomena creating increased activity in the market is conversion of industrial buildings to office usages. With demand still fairly strong, investors/developers are report ing very robust results.

* Perhaps the key reason that Long Island's commercial real estate markets are faring so well is because even though some new space has been added to the market in the form of sublet space, it is still a very small amount. As long as demand remains healthy and supply in check, expect these positive conditions to remain strong.

The Schultz Organization/TCN Worldwide reports that the current conditions possess an excellent buying time for investors in New Jersey. The major market conditions in the New Jersey marketplace are as follows:

* The overall market has seen a slowdown in momentum and a flattening in rents as the effects of corporate contraction and the tech implosion dump supply onto the market. Evidence of contraction has arrived already in the form of sublets, and will show up here and there; as smaller spin-offs and incubator-type businesses fail to renew their leases, and large companies put unneeded corporate facilities on the market for sale in an effort to cut costs.

* In New Jersey, rehabilitation of older light manufacturing facilities into office/flex facilities followed the evolution of the state's labor base as it moved more and more from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. But there has been relatively little "ground-up" new construction. Most of it has been limited to Class A space and has been delivered largely pre-committed. Supply and demand have remained at relative equilibrium, as new product has been added just in time.

In Manhattan, Murray Hill Properties/TCN Worldwide reports the following market conditions:

* Both Downtown and Midtown markets have been affected by the recent slew of subleases entering the market. However, they are being received differently in each marketplace. Midtown vacancy rates have been at low levels, hovering around 4.5%, while subleases increase this rate nominally. Subleases are creating market equilibrium between supply and demand. Downtown is receiving the sublease space as a mixed blessing because leasing activity is down over 80% from the same time last year. While the overall vacancy rate is slightly over 5%, this number is trending upward monthly. Prices are remaining steady as neither market has experienced any downward pressure to date, with Midtown prices averaging $61.64 per in February and Downtown prices averaging $44.92 per SF for the same time period.

* Year-end 2000 closed with negative sublet absorption of 2 million SF of space, counterbalanced by over 1.5 million SF of directly leased space. The remainder of 2001 appears to continue along a trend of decreased leasing activity and an increase in landlord concessions without substantial downward pressure on pricing. The overall market outlook remains healthy despite the slowdown in the torrid pace of leasing from last year. In a more cautious environment, as long as prices remain steady and supply does not exceed demand, leasing activity should absorb these subleases into the marketplace.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Hagedorn Publication
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 4, 2001
Words:1203
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