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TAMPA, FL-One Urban Center, a two-building, 543,251-sf, class A office complex in Westshore, Tampa Bay’s largest submarket, is nearing the 95% occupancy level with the five-year, 13,073-sf, $2-million lease renewal by American Board of Pathology.

Gerard Crum, a senior director in office services in the local office of Advantis Real Estate Services Co. representing the tenant, and Doug Bartley, a Jones Lang LaSalle broker negotiating for the landlord, consider the lease important in a competitive 11-million-sf market where third-quarter overall vacancy is at 16.9%. About 1.9 million sf are vacant in Westshore, according to the latest Grubb & Ellis Co. analysis.

Still, Crum tells GlobeSt.com, “we see improvement on the horizon as the larger blocks of space are absorbed.” He adds, “The landlords, however, are still aggressive in renewing their existing tenants.” The average asking base rent range at One Urban Center, 4830 W. Kennedy Blvd., is $21.50 per sf to $23.50 per sf. Building One was completed in 1998; Building Two in 2001.

In her third-quarter analysis for the entire 50-million-sf Tampa Bay office market, Melanie Garlock, marketing and research manager for Grubb & Ellis Co., says “the best news is absorption has increased to 158,200 sf which is a pace much greater than achieved in 2002.”

Westshore’s third quarter net absorption was 69,799 sf and 340,433 sf year-to-date. There is 112,000 sf of new construction under way. Average asking Westshore class A rent is 20.65 per sf and $18.03 per sf for class B, according to Grubb & Ellis.

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