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COLUMBUS, OH-Mall development REIT Glimcher Realty Trust has signed a lease and moved into 54,000 sf at Continental Plaza, at 180 E. Broad St. The company moved just a block away from its former home of Continental Center, at 150 E. Gay St.

The REIT didn’t expand much, ending its five-year, 50,000-sf lease at 150 E. Gay and signing up for the 10-year lease at Continental Plaza. However, trust chairman and CEO Michael Glimcher tells GlobeSt.com that the purpose wasn’t to add space. “We’re on a far more efficient floor plate now,” he says. “Before, it just wasn’t meeting our needs. We were on split up floors and had like 10 different sizes offices in our space. Now, we’re on contiguous floors, 20-22, and have a lot more parity in how much space each of our 140 employees gets. Plus, we have stairs in between our floors, so we put the reception area on 21, and we can just pop up and down.”

Glimcher wouldn’t divulge how much the lease rate is at the building. The average lease rate for the CBD is $21.99 per sf, according to a fourth quarter Grubb & Ellis market report. The Continental Plaza building is 33 stories tall and about 568,000 sf, and is reportedly almost fully occupied.

He says that another benefit of the new office is wide open spaces. Most of the perimeter is open, without offices, and the interior gets a lot more light. “The philosophy of our company is to be open and engaging, it really speaks to our new culture,” Glimcher says. For proof, he points to the company’s new lifestyle centers at Polaris Fashion Place, Dayton Mall and Scottsdale Quarter in Scottsdale, AZ. “We’re going more for the open-air environment on our malls as well.”

Though he says the company ended the year on a high note, with center inline space at 94% occupied and anchors at 98% occupied, Glimcher says it’s clear that retailers are slowing down. “We’re cautiously optimistic about this year, as long as we open about 70% to 90% of what we did last year, we’ll be okay,” he says. “It’s a turbulent environment, and there’s a lot of overexpansion, though people are now rationalizing their businesses and being conservative with capital. Sometimes a little adjustment is not a bad thing.”

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