STAMFORD, CT—There was some great news in the office market inFairfield County in the second quarter, which was negated somewhatby some bad news. The office market saw a number of significantlease transactions, but also suffered a number of large spacegivebacks by area corporations.

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In its second quarter office market report, brokerage firmColliers International reports the market wasbolstered by large transactions in the technology, hospitality,healthcare, and media sectors. However, large space givebacks mutedthe effect of those transactions. In fact, Colliers states that theFairfield County market posted a negative 425,892 square feet ofabsorption as compared to a positive 250,208 square feet lastquarter.

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“There is a significant flight to quality in the FairfieldCounty market, with tenants taking advantage of buildings that havebeen upgraded by landlords, offer an array of amenities, and are inclose proximity to train stations and ample parking,” saysMichael Siegel, an executive managing director inthe Connecticut office of Colliers International. “The ongoingdevelopment of more than 1,000 housing units in Stamford andNorwalk also makes the market more attractive to tenants as it willgrow the built-in labor supply and naturally draw in restaurantsand support retail.”

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The overall office availability rate in the second quarterdeclined slightly in the Central, Stamford, and Northern markets,to 21.1% down from 22.5% last quarter. The lowest availability wasin the Eastern market, at 16.8%, up from 14.1% last quarter.Stamford continues to maintain the highest availability, at23.9%.

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The average asking rent for Stamford Class-A space was $38.31per square-foot a slight increase from the $38.10 per-square-footregistered last quarter. Greenwich's average Class-A asking rentclimbed to $72.98 per-square-foot, up from $69.32 per-square-footlast quarter.

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Some of the larger lease transactions in the second quarter inFairfield County included: Cartus Corp.'s 239,000-sf headquartersexpansion at 40 Apple Ridge Road in Danbury and Starwood Hotels& Resorts Worldwide's headquarters renewal at 333 Ludlow St. inStamford. The international hotel company was also granted a$30-million concession by the state's Department of Economic andCommunity Development for a 130,000-square-foot expansion at thatlocation. Other deals of note were Datto's 100,398-square-footlease at 101 Merritt 7 in Norwalk and Vineyard Vines headquartersrelocation to the 91,040-square-foot 181 Harbor Drive property inStamford.

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A number of large corporate space givebacks marred any realimprovement in the region's availability rates. Some of the notablegivebacks, according to the Colliers report, included: UnitedHealthcare Group's move out of Trumbull, returning 252,948 squarefeet and consolidating its space at 4 Research Drive in Shelton,returning an additional 145,260 square feet to the market. Inaddition, the Ryan Partnership returned 118,325 square feet ofspace between two locations for sublease, while Purdue movedforward with its restructuring and downsizing and put two floors ofits headquarters, totaling 91,601 square feet, on to themarket.

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John Jordan

John Jordan is a veteran journalist with 36 years of print and digital media experience.