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SAN ANTONIO-The San Antonio office market has taken a step back, according to Grubb & Ellis Co.’s third-quarter numbers. Vacancy overall is 19.8%, with sublease space now totaling 743,097 sf in an inventory of more than 22 million sf of office buildings.

The downturn in occupancy primarily is due to 85,000 sf of sublease space plunked on the northwest submarket by USAA, the city’s largest employer. The northwest submarket took the biggest hit in the third quarter, Shawn Martin, research analyst for Grubb & Ellis in San Antonio, tells GlobeSt.com. “But the rest of San Antonio is doing alright, with positive absorption,” he says, noting that the city overall rang up to the positive just three months ago.

The activity isn’t great around the rest of town, but it is alright given conditions in other Texas metropolises. “San Antonio historically does not have as deep of a fallout,” Martin explains.

The numbers stack up with San Antonio having just under 4.6 million sf of empty direct space, of which 705,279 sf are positioned in the 4.6-million-sf CBD. The average rent in the heart of town is $22.77 per sf in comparison to a market average of $20.94 per sf or a suburban price of $20.27 per sf.

Looking at the city overall, the year-to-date absorption is a negative 138,336 sf. Of that, 112,919 sf occurred in the third quarter. The northwest submarket fell back 113,643 sf and the north central was down 62,802 sf. The north central, though, is facing a larger deficit since it has 66,294 sf under construction and is the only San Antonio submarket to be seeing any office product rising.

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