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HAMPTON, VA-The low vacancy rate in the area’s industrial real estate market is going to increase a bit now that computer manufacturing giant Gateway Inc. plans to shut its local manufacturing plant. The decision–which came yesterday and is a result of the San Diego- area company’s latest attempt to generate profits–will leave vacant a two-building, 37-acre property on Park Lane totaling about 530,000 sf. The current direct vacancy rate among manufacturing properties in the Hampton Roads area is at 7.5%, according to NAI Direct’s current market overview for the area.

“Combining Gateway’s manufacturing and service capabilities with those of multiple manufacturing and service partners in the US and overseas will enable it to obtain the best combination of cost and quality for PCs and consumer electronics,” Gateway chairman and CEO Ted Waitt explains in a release announcing news about the plant closure and resulting job losses. “As an initial part of this plan, Gateway will close its Hampton, VA manufacturing complex on Sept. 30.” Gateway has occupied the two structures since they were developed in 1996.

It is unclear whether the company’s half-million-sf digs will go up for sale or be rented out to a single or several tenants. “We lease that space,” Gateway spokesman Bob Sherbin tells GlobeSt.com, “and I don’t think we’ve determined yet whether or not we’re going to sublet it.” Gateway’s lease is not scheduled to expire until 2011. Terms of the company’s lease agreement are not available, but the NAI Direct report indicates that the effective average rate for manufacturing space in the region currently goes for about $5.25 per sf.

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