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JACKSONVILLE, FL-Berwind Property Group of Philadelphia has spotted a niche in compact, single-story office structures here and broken ground on Cypress Business Center II, a planned 42,500-sf, $4.5 million, class A venture at the two-building, 120,500-sf Cypress Business Center.

The center’s first 78,000-sf building, erected in 1990, is 95% leased, a performance that supports Berwind’s optimism for its project, Brad Chrischilles, a vice president in the local office of Trammell Crow Co., tells GlobeSt.com.

“Although vacancies (for the general office market) are in the teens, the market for new, first-generation, one-story buildings offering six parking spaces per 1,000 sf (leased) remains strong,” Chrischilles says. “The parking factor is the big plus, giving tenants multi parking right at the front door of their businesses.”

The broker calls the under 50,000-sf building sector “a specialty market, much in demand by users of 20,000 sf to 30,000 sf, such as call or contact centers having combined administrative and call-center services.” Chrischilles estimates this small-building market of office and flex space at about seven million sf and total multi-story inventory at about eight million sf.

Crow leases and manages the 78,000-sf building and is also pre-leasing the new structure. Key tenants at the existing building are LabCorp and AmTrak. Rents are $11 per sf, triple net. The common area maintenance fee is $2.95 per sf. “We expect leasing activity on Phase II of the center to be brisk,” Chrischilles says.

Berwind is breaking ground at this time because “there are several tenants looking around for 20,000-sf to 30,000-sf buildings,” Chrischilles says. Cypress Business Center II’s site is six miles from Downtown on Interstate 95 and a half mile south of J. Turner Butler Boulevard on Philips Highway.

Second-quarter statistics from Crow show the 8.65 million-sf class A office market having 1.1 million sf of direct vacant space or a vacancy level of 12.79%. Asking average rent is $19.31 per sf. The 6.89-million, class B office market has 1.56 million sf vacant or a vacancy level of 22.71%. Class B asking rent is $15.70 per sf.

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