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BALTIMORE-In its year-end analysis of industrial space in the Washington-Baltimore Corridor, Delta Associates found that–not surprisingly–the region’s industrial/flex market registered only moderate performance last year thanks to the economy. Net absorption totaled just below the long-term average–specifically, the Corridor absorbed 4.4 million square feet, compared to 6.6 million square feet in 2007. These numbers are not that unusual for a region under stress, Elizabeth Norton, director of Research for the Mid-Atlantic region, tells GlobeSt.com.

What is different, though, is that for the first time in many years Baltimore has outperformed Washington in net absorption. According to Delta Associates’ figures, Baltimore absorbed 3.4 million square feet of industrial and flex space in 2008. Washington, by contrast, absorbed roughly one million square feet. “Typically the two metro areas will split absorption 50-50,” Norton says.

Norton credits a range of factors for the discrepancy: the proximity to the Port of Baltimore and a healthy supply of space, among others.These were among the reasons the Baltimore area was the recipient of many large bulk leases last year, she speculates. Norton says the slowdown will continue in 2009. The region should start to recover by 2010 and 2011. By then it should be clear whether Baltimore and Washington have moved back to equilibrium in net absorption–or whether this is the start of a longer-term trend.

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