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PHILADELPHIA-Office leasing activity in the Lehigh Valley, PA submarket increased slightly during third-quarter 2002, according to research from the Philadelphia office of New York-based Trammell Crow Co. The market absorbed much of the sublease space that came to market due to downsizing during the first half of the year.

As a result, the vacancy rate also dipped slightly, from 16% at mid-year, to 15.68% in the third quarter.

The only new office construction in the pipeline is the eight-story, 265,000-sf Plaza at PPL Center, which is being developed by Malvern, PA-based Liberty Property Trust. The office/retail facility will contain PPLCorp.’s energy marketing center.

Office rental rates remain relatively unchanged. The average for class-A properties is $18.55 per sf. This applies to 36 buildings with an aggregate of of approximately 3.6 million sf. The average for class-B facilities is $14.63 per sf. There are 65 class-B properties, which also total nearly 3.6 million sf.

The research was conducted by principal Paul Torosian, in the local Trammell Crow office along with vice president Larry Maister and senior associate Marie Connell.

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