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MARLBOROUGH, MA-Large corporations here in the Metrowest area on the Route 9 corridor have recently put hundreds of thousands of sf on the market, pushing the vacancy rates up and pushing rents to their lowest levels in years.

“There is a fair amount of space available on the Route 9 corridor in the Metrowest,” Brian McKenzie, a partner at Richards Barry Joyce & Partners, tells GlobeSt.com. “The vacancy rates are up to 15 to 18%.” In this town, 3Com put 600,000 sf up for sale while Lucent Technologies put up 500,000 sf of space. According to McKenzie, EMC Corp. has started to give back space in nearby Westborough where the company has leased 190,000 sf of space and has yet to move in. McKenzie adds that another 400,000 sf of space in the area is likely to become available shortly and he notes that a “fair amount of small companies” are putting space in the sublease market as well.

All this activity will inevitably lead to further reduced rental rates. “Investors will come in and buy the property at steep discounts,” points out McKenzie. “They will then offer rents at lower prices.” Rents in the area have already dropped down to the low $20s per sf from a high of $30 to $33 per sf. A year ago, says McKenzie, he barely had anything to show prospective tenants here. All that has changed. “There are now a lot of alternatives for tenants,” he says. Recently, he looked at 12 options with a client and “we had another 12 we could have looked at. Its anyone’s guess when demand fully comes back but it doesn’t look like it’ll be a quick answer.”

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