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IRVINE, CA-Internet auto marketer Autobytel Inc. has signed a deal for nearly 61,000 sf of corporate headquarters space in a renewal of its lease at Colton Plaza, according to Studley. The company, which has signed a new lease that runs through 2010, has been based in Orange County since 1995.

Autobytel’s deal is for 60,715 sf at 18872 and 18952 MacArthur Blvd., also known as Colton Plaza. Studley’s Royce Sharf and Michael Props represented Autobytel, with Colton Plaza’s landlord, the Colton Co., represented in-house by John McClintock.

Autobytel is the largest tenant at Colton Plaza. The company’s five-year lease includes building-top signage strategically positioned on two separate adjacent buildings, in view of traffic traveling to and from the John Wayne Airport, as well as tenant improvement contributions and parking for employees and clients.

Publicly held Autobytel Inc. is one of the largest online marketplaces for cars and trucks, serving over 23 million consumers since launching its car-buying website in 1995, according to the company’s website.

Studley calls the deal “a favorable lease package for Autobytel, despite the fact that availability rates in Orange County are at near-historic lows, rents are increasing and concessions are diminishing.” Recent reports show the vacancy in single-digits and asking rates at record highs.

The rents and vacancy rates are holding in the county despite an increase in office building construction which has pushed the amount of space under construction to nearly five times more in the first quarter of this year than in the first quarter of 2005–or about 4.3 million sf. At the same time, the market has been absorbing space at the rate of an average of three million sf per year for the past four years.

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