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DENVER-The metro area’s northwest corridor’s office vacancy rate skyrocketed from 3.8% at the end of 2000 to 32% at the end of June, shows a mid-year report by locally based Fuller and Co., a full-service commercial real estate firm. And the vacancy rate promises to get worse before it gets better, as telecommunication firms along the corridor between Denver and Boulder continue to dump subleased space on the market, says Chris Ball, a Fuller and Co. broker.

Indeed, within 30 days he expects the vacancy rate to approach 40%. And it may hit 45% or 50% before it starts to recover, he says.

Doug Wulf, another broker at Fuller and Co., agrees. He tells GlobeSt.com that it is extremely difficult to gauge the true amount of empty space along the corridor, the third largest submarket in the metro area.

”Do you count the space that is only occupied by eight people? Do you include only the space that is officially listed, or do you include the space that people are mentally listing, because they know it’s going to come on the market?” Wulf asks.

Wulf compares the office market’s rise and fall to NASDAQ’s.

”When do you think NASDAQ will hit 5,000 again? It will take years,” he adds. “And it will take years before the northwest corridor has an office vacancy rate of 4% again.”

Other reports list the vacancy’s rate along the corridor in the low 20% vacancy rate. But those reports tend to be broader. For example, a recent report by Richard Damm, a broker with Trammell Crow, includes the city of Boulder, which has an office vacancy rate of 6% to 7%, the lowest in the metro area.

The Fuller and Co. report doesn’t include the city of Boulder. Rather, it measures the office vacancy rate along the formerly fast-growing suburban areas that include Broomfield, Westminster, Louisville and Superior.

These communities grew rapidly over the past four years in large part because of Boulder’s reluctance to approve growth.

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