Led by Miami-Dade, which accounts for more than 75% of the tri-county inventory of manufacturing, warehouse/distribution and office/service space, the South Florida industrial market is “flourishing,” says Eric D. Swanson, executive vice president of Codina Group, whose research team compiled the data

The Airport West submarket alone accounted for 1.98 million sf of Miami-Dade’s total 5.1 million-sf first-half absorption. Yet it still ended the six-month period with the highest vacancy rate (8.9%) of any submarket.

Responding to solid user demand, developers had 4.3 million sf of new industrial product under construction in the county at mid-year, with 855,888 sf more in some stage of planning. That level of new building may have been a factor in holding Miami-Dade’s average gross psf rental rate of $5.92 below the regional average of $6.25.

Broward’s industrial space absorption during the first six months of 2000 was slightly above the two million-sf mark and trimmed the county’s vacancy rate to 6.6% from 7.1% at year-end 1999. A little over two million sf of new construction was already in the ground at mid-year and another 2.22 million sf of projects is on the drawing board.

The two submarkets with the highest vacancy rates, Southwest Broward (10.8%) and Sunrise (9.7%) have also witnessed most of the new development. The average psf gross rental rate at mid-year was $7.40, which made Broward the most expensive county in South Florida for industrial space.

Palm Beach’s industrial inventory, which is half as large as Broward’s and about one fifth the size of Miami-Dade’s, also has the lowest vacancy rate (3.6%) of all three counties. The tightest submarket was Jupiter/Palm Beach Gardens (1.2% vacancy), with Boca Raton (1.9%) not far behind. Moreover, just 111,200 sf of new space was under development and only 337,921 sf proposed. The average psf gross industrial rental rate in county at mid-year was $6.16.

The Codina researchers cite the local geography as a controlling factor to future industrial activity in Palm Beach. The geography limits most future development to a relatively narrow north-south corridor. However, planned expansion of Southern Boulevard between I-95 and U.S. 441 may open that area for more projects.

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