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MARLBOROUGH, MA-Until now, the commercial real estate market along the Route 495 belt has been weathering the high-tech bust better than other areas of the Greater Boston area. But its fortunes appear to be turning as a number of high profile companies are giving back space at an alarming rate.

According to Cushman & Wakefield’s mid-year report, as of June, the Route 495 area has a 7.7% vacancy rate–3% higher than just a few months before. “They got hit a little later,” James Belli, senior director at Cushman & Wakefield, tells GlobeSt.com. “Most of their fallout was not dot-com-related.”

Belli points to three major firms that are looking to get rid of some of their space. Compaq Computer Corp., which, according to Belli, wants to consolidate, is looking to get out of 300,000 sf in Stow. Lucent Technologies has several commercial properties here, including a 500,000-sf complex in which the company would like to reduce its presence. 3Com has a 540,000-sf corporate campus and development potential for another 660,000 sf but, says Belli, “they don’t need all that space.” he says that both 3Com and Lucent would consider a sale leaseback deal.

Belli notes that some brokers feel that the area is already starting to rebound but he emphasizes that “we need to deal with the space that we have now. Tech-related companies have stopped taking space. I hope it doesn’t get any worse here.”

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