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“The market is trending in a stable direction,” Bob Chodos, principal at Colliers International, said at yesterday’s BOMA/Chicago’s mid-year commercial real estate market review, held at the Aon Center. But even though the last twelve quarters have seen positive absorption, and the CBD in particular has recently shown a great deal of vitality, Chodos believes the market faces some obstacles over the next few years. Tenants, for example, have begun to show less interest in making long-term commitments to the bigger spaces. In the first quarter of 2012, he pointed out, property owners in the CBD signed sixteen leasing agreements for spaces with more than 50,000-square-feet, but in the first quarter of this year only eight such agreements were signed.

“We think that trend is going to stay here for awhile,” Chodos said, due to several headwinds from the user side. The most important is that tenants’ ability to use space more efficiently has left large sections of their offices unused. “This is the big one,” he said. “This is causing CEOs and CFOs to walk around and say, ‘why do I carry all this space?’”

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