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DALLAS-For the first time this year, Dallas-Fort Worth has gotten a negative reading on its industrial barometer. It comes as no surprise that two submarkets–both near airports and sporting plenty of new product–were the only ones showing positive readings in the third quarter, according to Grubb & Ellis Co.’s Dallas research team.

The backslide was a slap of one million sf to take vacancy to 9% across the board. It was a quarter of “mixed signals,” the research team says of the 632.1-million-sf inventory and its Q3 showing. “While recent industrial activity bled red ink, metroplex vacancy remains below 10% and has been faring well in the face of a weakened national economy,” researchers wrote in the latest industrial report to come to market.

The negative number was felt mainly by older product. The newer buildings in and around the DFW Airport and Alliance Airport in North Fort Worth posted 821,547 sf to the positive in sharp contrast to the Great Southwest Industrial Park’s red ink of 564,413 sf.

Move-outs, most often kept quiet, included La Salle Bristol vacating 112,000 sf in the Interstate 30 Distribution Center and Excel Logistics emptying 293,727 sf, both Great Southwest tenants. In South Fort Worth, the lights went out on 681,600 sf at the GM Parts Distribution Center. Warehouse/distribution space accounted for the bulk of the negative reading.

The Grubb & Ellis consensus is “the DFW market has defied expectations throughout the national economic doldrums and will continue to do so.” That optimism lies in part to rising rent in areas such as research and development, where rent rose 16 cents per sf on a triple net annual basis, the first growth since first quarter 2001. Grubb & Ellis says the uptick came because some building owners quoted higher than average asking rents.

Without a doubt, the positive notes came from the obvious Q3 engines, the airport submarkets as they gained ground in all arenas, rent, absorption and new product. For Alliance, the quarter got even sweeter with Motorola announcing its plans and AmerisourceBergen close to following suit.

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