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PHILADELPHIA-The consensus among area brokers is that the CBD office vacancy rate will reach 20% by second quarter 2006. Currently, vacancy hovers at 15.6%, but “the anticipated uptick…has yet to be realized,” according to first-quarter CBRE data.

A first-quarter Grubb & Ellis report confirms, “the CBD held its own…with approximately 160,000 sf of absorption, its first positive boost since third-quarter 2003. Nevertheless, the CBD will need several similar positive quarters to control the nearly two million sf of space coming on line in the next few years.” Some smaller space transactions, including renewals and extensions account for that positive absorption.

David Jarijsian and Mitch Marcus, VP of CBRE, represented Realex Capital, the owner of One Penn Center, in Trauner Consulting Services’ renewal and extension from 5,470 sf to 13,500 sf. Joshua Sloan of the local office of Jones Lang LaSalle represented the tenant. The value is undisclosed. Grubb & Ellis puts the average asking rental rate in the Market West submarket at $24.50 per sf, but brokers here agree that owners are offering discounted rates and attractive concession packages to fill space.

Marcus also represented Esquire Deposition Services in a long-term lease at Four Penn Center. Joe Wolff, also of CBRE, represented KanAm, the owner, which purchased the building for an estimated $90 million in late March.

Hal Lewis Group took 16,726 sf and Salmon, Ricchezza, Singer & Turchi signed on for 7,776 sf at 1700 Market St. Craig Scheuerle and Jack Soloff of Grubb & Ellis represented the owner, PA-Market Street Limited.

Two law firms inked leases at 230 S. Broad St. that aggregate 9,185 sf and have a total value of nearly $1 million. Stephen Perna, SVP; Matt Frederick, VP, and associate Joseph Viturello of Arden Real Estate Services, represented the firm of Jay Edelstein and Lawrence Diamond in a renewal for 5,057 sf with building owner AE South Broad Associates. Perna represented Pasquerella, Kunnel & Pomo PC in a sublease for 4,128 sf in the same building from MDL Capital Management, which is relocating to Pittsburgh.

Arden’s Frederick and Viturello also negotiated a renewal and expansion from 4,900 sf to 6,600 sf by the law firm of Dickie McCamey & Chilcote PC for 6,600 sf in the Public Ledger Building at 600 Chestnut St. Michael Dolan of Jones Lang LaSalle represented the owner, Triple Net Properties. The lease is valued in excess of $930,000.

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