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Report on Baltimore office vacancies looks up

The market for office space in Baltimore’s central business district will experience a slight uptick this year, a report released Tuesday predicts.

The fourth quarter 2010 Marketbeat report by Cushman & Wakefield stated that vacancy rates downtown had stabilized by the final quarter of last year, thanks to a shifting by Transamerica Corp., which located to 140,526 square feet encompassing nine floors at 100 S. Light Street.

The office moved from a building at 1111 N. Charles St. That move was significant enough to rename the building to the Transamerica Tower, expected to become official early this year, said a Mike Evitts, spokesman for the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.

Overall, the Marketbeat report said that the vacancy rate in the city’s central business district rose slightly to 18.2 percent by the end of December. The state’s unemployment rate of 7.4 percent helped continue the cycle of office space vacancies, the report said.

The demand for office space in the Baltimore metropolitan region was fueled by growth from the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closure moves and health care expansion activity stemming from the new federal law, the report added.

Two leases totaling 140,707 square feet were signed by the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Baltimore County, while Anne Arundel, Howard and Harford Counties saw increased leasing activity as BRAC installations and private corporations began to move in during 2010.