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BOSTON-From a landlord’s perspective, Greater Boston’s first quarter industrial figures are not pretty to look at, and veteran broker Mark Reardon has a suggestion—don’t bother. “The numbers are deceiving,” the CB Richard Ellis principal concludes of Q1 absorption rates in the negative for most of suburban Boston. Reardon’s own firm puts absorption at minus-1.2 million sf, similar to a report by Jones Lang LaSalle, but he says there are extenuating circumstances that belie the true picture.

“We were very active in the first quarter, and we’ve got some positive things going on right now,” Reardon tells GlobeSt.com, citing Q1 deals in Ayer of 216,000 sf at 2 Nemco way by L3 Communications and a 154,000-sf commitment from US Gypsum at 50 Independence Dr. Reardon and CBRE colleagues David Connolly and David Corkery assisted L3 in its lease, with Torin Taylor of Cushman & Wakefield representing the landlord. Connolly, Corkery and Reardon were also brokers in the US Gypsum deal and another at One Second St. in Peabody where they assisted Atlantic Management Corp. in its lease of 70,000 sf to Paradigm/Precision Holdings. Phil Burgess of Burgess Properties was agent for Paradigm in that deal, first reported by GlobeSt.com on March 19th.

The CBRE review of 133 million sf of industrial product shows negative absorption in 10 of the 11 submarkets tracked. Five were in the red by six figures, led by Interstate 495 Northeast, a 9.4 million sf submarket that had negative net absorption in excess of 380,000 sf. The overall market availability rate rose to 17%, CBRE reports. JLL puts that rate at 20% for a survey of 61 million sf that has an alarming 1.4 million sf of negative absorption. Only a feeble 4,100 sf in the 10.9 million-sf Interstate 495 South registered on the plus side among seven submarkets surveyed by JLL.

According to Reardon, however, the numbers are inflated because some space is coming out earlier than normal, often with term remaining. This is being done to get a jump on the competition, surmises Reardon. Among the product already being advertised is 94,000 sf leased by Lindenmeyer Munroe in North Reading, and another property in Andover occupied by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Each of those leases have at least a year to burn off, says Reardon, but are included in the latest availability results. Reardon says the market vacancy rate of 14% is a better barometer, and the CBRE report strikes a similar tone, accentuating that one or two large users could ratchet down supply quickly, especially for the modern product sought by most firms.

Another industrial review by C&W is less onerous than CBRE or JLL, but registers nearly 400,000 sf of negative absorption for the quarter, with eight of 14 submarkets in the red. The suburban Boston West submarket took the biggest hit on absorption at minus 276,000 sf, but C&W assisted in at least one significant lease there in the opening quarter when Foster Miller took 65,000 sf at 15 Forge Park in Franklin. In that deal, reported by GlobeSt.com on Jan. 17th, C&W represented landlord Colony Realty Partners on the team of Cathy Minnerly, J.P. Plunkett, Kevin Hanna, J.R. McDonald and Jason Bryer. CBRE principal James Nicoletti and Michael Ripp represented the tenant. C&W tracks 244.6 million sf of industrial space in Massachusetts and puts the vacancy rate at 11.5%, down from 14% three months into 2007.

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