"Investment activity has shown no signs of weakness," John M.Leonard, regional manager of the firm's Atlanta office, says in aprepared statement. "Atlanta's retail market has held up well,considering the economic malaise over the last year."

Rising vacancies have pushed rents down 5% to an average $15.50per sf. Average rents for new construction fare better at $22 persf. Buckhead boasts the highest average at $32 per sf. Averageasking rents have been sliding for the last 18 months.

Leonard projects vacancies will rise 0.3 percentage points overthe next six months because of slow absorption. "Rents will remainunder pressure for the remainder of 2002 before experiencingimprovement in 2003 with a 2% increase," Leonard says.

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