CHARLOTTE-The countywide multi-tenant warehouse vacancy rate has leveled off. Tenants occupied almost 486,000 sf of new space during the third quarter compared with over 411,000 sf in the second quarter.

With seven warehouses totaling over one million sf under construction, the current 10% vacancy rate could increase to the 12% range by the end of the year, according to Karnes Research Co.’s newest market study.

Another researcher, Real Estate Research Corp., notes strong demand from telecom and Internet firms for distribution space. For example, Muzak has a new high-tech headquarters in a 100,000-sf warehouse in Lakemont Business Park in York County, SC. Britax Child Safety Inc. plans to lease a 123,00-sf manufacturing/office building in South Point Business Park at NC 49 and Carowinds Boulevard. Arizona-based Encore Products moved into 80,000 sf of renovated warehouse space on North Tryon Street.

The researchers feel the 10 to 12% vacancy rate in the warehouse market is not alarming since this percentage is considered healthy and indicates there is room in the market for expansion and relocation. The vacancy rate for office/warehouse flex space declined for the third straight quarter to almost 10%. It soared to 15% in fourth quarter 1999.