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DANBURY, CT-Despite a national slump, the industrial sector here in Fairfield County is showing signs of slow and steady improvement with a continuing decrease in the number of vacancies. CB Richard Ellis reports that a decrease in the second quarter of 2001 is the second consecutive quarter the rate has decreased. The company tracks 850 industrial and flex buildings each with 10,000 sf or more of net rentable area in Fairfield County and the industrial market in the county has a total industrial base of 48.2 million sf.

In the second quarter of 2001, CB Richard Ellis found a negative net absorption of 164,562 sf. One factor that may have contributed to the absorption is the decrease in the average asking rent, which went from $7.69 per sf in the first quarter to $7.44 per sf in the second quarter. This is up from the same quarter in 2000 when the average asking rent was $7.34 per sf. The vacancy rate went from 9.9% to 9.8%. The availability rate decreased from the first quarter’s 11.5% to 11.3% in the second quarter.

In Eastern Fairfield County, the vacancy rate decreased from 10.5% to 10.4%. In Lower Fairfield, it dropped from 9.7% to 6.8%. Upper Fairfield, on the contrary, had an increase in vacancies from 7.8% to 12.7%. Several buildings having been removed from the market contributed to Lower Fairfield’s positive absorption of 156,724 sf. When 100,000 sf became vacant at 5 Bridge St. in Shelton, but an 80,000 sf building was sold in Stratford at 1255 W. Broad St., among other activity, the net absorption evened out to 689 sf. Upper Fairfield had a negative net absorption of 320,597 sf as a result of 155,000 sf at 595 Federal Rd. and 33,000 sf at 44 Commerce Rd. becoming vacant in Brookfield.

No new construction projects on industrial buildings took place in Fairfield County during the second quarter of 2001. A 40,040 sf warehouse pre-leased to Airborne Express at 47-53 Old Ridgebury Rd. in Danbury did complete construction. Already under construction in the second quarter were two buildings in Shelton–30 Shelton Technology Center, a 46,500-sf flex building pre-leased to Firing Circuits and 50 Shelton Technology Center, a 42,163 sf flex building pre-leased to Radiall, Inc.

Currently nine projects are proposed for the county totaling approximately 896,960 sf. None will break ground until a major tenant can be secured.

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