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LAS VEGAS-The 18,682-square-foot University Medical Center at 2231 W. Charleston Blvd. has sold for $7 million in one of the relatively few deals to close lately in a a Las Vegas office market that is feeling the recession’s drag on leasing and sales. The medical center sale was brokered by Marcus & Millichap, and the latest trends in the office market were outlined this week in a new report from Applied Analysis.

The sale of the medical center, which was built in 1999, was brokered by Tina Taylor, a senior associate in Marcus & Millichap’s Las Vegas office. Taylor had the listing to market the property on behalf of the seller, a limited liability company. She also secured the buyer, an unnamed financial institution.

The University Medical Center houses two UMC programs, Total Life Care the Women’s Clinic, both of which were originally located within hospital across the street before expanding to this site.The office building sits along a major east-west commercial corridor, a mile west of Interstate 15 and across from the UMC campus.

According to fourth quarter 2008 office market report from Applied Analysis,the Las Vegas Valley office market continued to deteriorate in 2008 as new supply outpaced market demand. The recession pushed the vacancy rate to a record-high 17.3%, an increase of half a percentage point from the third quarter and 3.7% higher than year-end 2007.

The office market posted negative net absorption of 43,000 square feet during the fourth quarter, but the annual total remained positive with 637,800 square feet of net absorption. According to Applied Analysis principal Brian Gordon, the firm expects continued deterioration in the near term as “a significant amount of space competes for a relatively few number of tenants.”

Applied Analysis expects rental rates to slide, higher concessions to become prevalent and lender foreclosures to increase. The company foresees a slowing of new construction “as projects under construction face leasing challenges and financing for planned projects becomes a near impossibility,” its report states.

Well-capitalized developers and investors will weather the storm, but those with leveraged balance sheets will be forced to renegotiate debt or walk from projects altogether, the report says. For tenants, Applied Analysis says, the weakening market means a chance to negotiate better deals.

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