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LISLE, IL-At least one office property owner here believes the market may be about to bottom out, if not turn upward. “We’re pretty much at our low point in our Chicago portfolio,” says Prentiss Properties president and CEO Thomas F. August.

At 82%, occupancy in the Dallas-based company’s 2.3-million-sf Chicago-area office properties is the lowest in the company’s portfolio, he notes. However, August says “two or three empty buildings” in the suburbs are set to be bought by users, which would cut the overall suburban market’s vacancy rate, recently pegged at 21.8% by Grubb & Ellis.

Vacancy in the East-West submarket stood at 22.4% at the end of the second quarter, according to Grubb & Ellis’ most recent market report.

Prentiss Properties paid $30.9 million for two fully occupied buildings in Lisle: the 124,000-sf Corporate Lakes III and the 60,000-sf 410 Warrenville Rd. With the 67,000-sf 701 Warrenville Rd., the second-quarter acquisitions give the REIT a rare trifecta in the East-West submarket–three fully occupied buildings.

However, August admits his REIT has its share of challenges. For example, Computer Associates’ lease on 74,000 sf at the five-building, 324,000-sf Corporetum Office Campus is set to expire this month. The property at 550 Warrenville Rd. in Lisle already is 54% occupied. That is three percentage points worse than Great Lakes REIT’s 150,000-sf Lisle Executive Center.

IKON Office Solutions rents the entire 60,430 sf at 410 Warrenville Rd. Unilever Bestfoods occupies 61,340 sf at Corporate Lakes III at 220 Cabot Dr., with UBF Foodsolutions occupying 57,820 sf.

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