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ATLANTA-While Atlanta continues to suffer a slow office-market economy in the second quarter, Richard Bowers, president of locally based Richard Bowers & Co., sees a bottoming out.

“No speculative space is scheduled for delivery during the second half of 2002,” he says in a new second-half report. “In fact, only limited new deliveries will occur in 2003.” They will be contained in four buildings and total just under 1.5 million sf.

The second-quarter occupancy rate dipped to 86.51%, down from 86.62% in the previous quarter. Average quoted rental rates remained stable at $21.53 per sf.

“The urban corridor continues to fare better than the suburbs,” Bowers says. Its vacancy rate is 89.23%, compared with 85.24% in the suburbs.

Rental rates along the urban corridor reflect vacancy rates and command, on average, $24.39 per sf, or more than $4 per sf above the suburban average of $20.20 per sf.

Buckhead leads all area submarkets with an average rental rate of $26.34 per sf. Suburban Decatur, GA enjoys the highest occupancy level, 95.6% and rental rates average $19.44 per sf.

“The sublease market continues its adverse effect on the overall office market,” says Bowers. He estimates available sublease office space totals about five million sf.

Although overall absorption, year-to-date, “is by far the lowest that has occurred in the last 10 years, we expect the second-half absorption will improve significantly,” he says.

Occupancy rates should increase to about 87.5% with rental rates moving up slightly. Bowers predicts occupancy will approach 90% by year-end 2003.

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