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TROY, MI-The city, once the strongest office market in the state, has become a virtual value-mart for tenants in today’s economy, says Lynn Drake-Batts, a senior associate with UGL Equis here. She has arranged two leases of about 70,000-sf for the 18-story National City Bank building, formerly known as the Top-of-Troy building, including a recent 35,000-sf lease for office use by William Beaumont Hospital.

The hospital, based in Royal Oak, MI, needed a central location for administrative functions such as purchasing and training departments, Drake-Batts tells GlobeSt.com. “They have three hospital locations, in Royal Oak, north Troy and Gross Pointe, and we looked at all the surrounding communities and this building is directly in the center,” she says. The company also has other satellite offices, such as in a building on Stephenson Highway between 14 Mile and 15 Mile roads, she says.

A few months ago, Drake-Batts arranged another 35,000-sf lease for Champion Enterprises in the National City building, named after its main tenant and owned by Kojaian Cos.”We’ve brought it up to 76% occupied, with some renovations completed a couple years ago. I’m working on putting in another tenant right now,” she says. The lease rate at the glass curtain-wall building ranges from $17.50 on the first two floors to $22.50 for the top floors.

She says the building, a standout icon along I-75, has been easy to lease since rates have dropped due to the economy. “The vacancy rate in Troy is high, there’s now so many great deals. It’s an excellent time to renew or relocate,” Drake-Batt says.

The current vacancy rate is now higher than 25% in Troy, according to a Grubb & Ellis market report. Both Troy and Southfield have high vacancy, but they are also the two largest markets, at 13 million sf and 16 million sf, respectively. The Detroit Downtown, at about 12 million sf, has the largest vacancy rate at almost 28%.

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