KENT, WA-Everyone’s worried about what might happen next year, but right now they’re doing just fine,” says Colliers International vice president Scott Alan about Kent Valley’s industrial market. Just shy of 38.2 million sf, according to a Colliers third quarter report, Kent Valley’s product accounts for about 51% of Puget Sound’s total.

“The question mark is the first couple quarters of 2002,” Alan says.

As well as the most product, Kent Valley has 61% of the entire market’s vacant space. The vacancies there are 4.305 million sf — or 11%. Nonetheless, says Alan, “It seems like investors still love our market.” A market, says Allan, with class A space where ownership is primarily institutional — institutions with the financial wherewithal to wait out downturns.

Making a point of the institutional lure of Kent Valley, Alan points to the 772,000-sf Kent East Corporate Park, a collection of six industrial buildings placed on the market by New York Life. Alan tells that while no asking price has been set, the marketing circular says the property has a replacement value of $52 million. There has been a lot of interest thus far, especially for a real estate market that has been wobbling ever-increasingly over the last year. Alan says a California office of C. B. Richard Ellis is representing the buyer.

Alan also points to the fact that industrial rents here have remained relatively stable.

“There has been very little movement in our shell rates,” says Alan, which according to the Colliers’ report are averaging $0.33 per sf in Kent Valley. “We’re seeing some concessions in rents, but not much,” Alan adds.

“Some landlords are hurting,” says Alan, particularly those like the owners of the buildings left vacant by the closure of WebVan. Many others that own space up for sublease are still collecting rents from the direct tenants — at least for now.

Alan admits it’s not all sunshine and roses in Kent. “There’s definitely been some slowdown in the deal volume,” he says, but adds, “There are still somewhere between 2 and 3 million sf of tenants circling out there right now, and it’s just a matter of time before they land.”

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