CHICAGO-Downtown office vacancy has risen again, hitting about 15%, or more than 18.9 million available square feet, and with low job growth, it might go slightly higher, experts say. However, no new properties are in the pipeline, and if the economy picks up, more absorption could kick in by the beginning of 2011.

The only office tower finishing this year is 300 E. Randolph, an 850,000-square-foot building addition that will be 85% occupied with owner Blue Cross Blue Shield and tenants such as Baker & McKenzie. “There have been some relocations of large tenants into downtown, which has helped us stabilize large blocks of space, but we don’t foresee any job growth, and thus little absorption this year,” says Matt Carolan, a managing director at Jones Lang LaSalle. Also, companies can’t acquire financing to start new construction, he says.

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