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DEARBORN, MI-Will growth in the office market in Detroit’s CBD come merely at the expense of lateral movements out of the suburbs? Quite possibly, said a panel of office market experts during RealShare Detroit this week.

Still, though, they see a strengthening of the key Troy and Southfield submarkets ahead – and possibly another big deal coming down the pipeline for Detroit before too long.

“Southfield should bounce back first,” says Brent Beshears, vice president of Insite Commercial Group. “The central location that made Southfield attractive in the first place will mean it is the first to bounce back.”

Matthew Farrell, vice president in the brokerage division at Freidman Real Estate Group, concurs. “Southfield is the hub, it comes back first,” he adds.

The Detroit CBD is likely to draw a specific type of tenant, likely one big enough to win some kind of tax incentive or other deal.

“The bread and butter leases, the 20-, 30-, 40-thousand-sf deals, they aren’t as attracted to Downtown,” reports Chris Secontine, associate broker at Signature Associates.

Still, though, there is excitement in the air about the CBD.

“Its on the horizon,” said Mark Woods, managing director at Cushman & Wakefield. “There will be another Compuware or EDS type deal in the not too distant future.”

Compuware and EDS are both significant Detroit area employers that recently left the suburbs to move into the CBD.

Talking about some of the nuts and bolts of the local office market scene, the panelist agreed that a bottom had been reached on office rent asking rates.

“Its still a good time to be a tenant,” Woods says.

Farrell adds tenants have grown very savvy about negotiating incentives from property owners.”Of course, when they see a sign offering space on every building around the corner, they now they have some leverage,” he adds. “If you are a landlord, do you do what you have to do to get a renewal, or do you take a chance on a property being vacant for 16, 18 months? The landlords are seeing that and they aren’t liking it.”

Owners are also getting savvy, Secontine counters, when it comes to performing credit checks on potential tenants. “I have never seen credit checks and due diligence as tight in my career as it is now,” he adds.

“That’s may not be a bad thing,” Woods notes. “If it leads to a more stable building, I think it benefits everyone.”

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