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CHICAGO-Downtown office vacancy continues to creep up, according to two separate market reports. Trammell Crow Co. puts second-quarter total vacancy, including sublease space, at 15.4% while CB Richard Ellis paints a bleaker picture, pegging total vacancy at 18.4%.

Although their vacancy numbers differ by 2.7 million sf, both firms say vacancy has increased since the first quarter, with CB Richard Ellis reporting an increase of seven-tenths of a percentage point. The firm points to mergers and corporate reshuffling as a culprit, most notably Bank One’s decision to sublease 580,000 sf at 131 S. Dearborn St. following its acquisition by JPMorgan Chase. Occupancy at Bank One Corporate Center remains stuck below 70%.

Trammell Crow Co. reports the East Loop is the weakest submarket with an 18.8% overall vacancy rate, with River North and the Central Loop checking in at 18.4%. That is a 1.4-percentage-point jump in the Central Loop. However, the firm pulls out LaSalle Street in its report, noting vacancy there has dropped to 10.8%.

CB Richard Ellis notes another disparity. While it reports negative net absorption of 696,000 sf Downtown during the second quarter, class-A space showed positive absorption of 273,000 sf, according to the firm’s second-quarter report.

“Despite another quarter of strong economic growth, slightly higher vacancies and negative net absorption tempered optimism for a rapid recovery,” says CB Richard Ellis senior vice president David Tropp.

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