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City Business Vacancies Skyrocket

Breaking records isn’t always good.

More than 1 million net square feet of office space was put on the market in Los Angeles County during the fourth quarter —setting an all time high for the last three months of 2008, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal.

A total of 3.28 million square feet of office space was vacated in 2008, the Journal reports. The number is at an all time high since Grubb & Ellis Co. started collecting quarterly data in 1983.

The number surpasses the dot-com bust. In 2001, when Web companies went belly-up, the county reported only 955,000 square feet of available space.

The vacancy rate was 12.2 percent in the fourth quarter, one point higher than the third quarter and  two and a half points higher than a year and a half ago. Although, in 2002, the percentage was much higher- 16.7 percent.

The Journal cites a number of reasons for the drastic last quarter: the rising unemployment rate, now at 8.9 percent- the highest in 14 years.

During the last quarter, the decline was led largely by the Westside market, which gave back 538,000-square feet of office space and saw its vacancy rate rise to 11.1 percent from 9.8 percent.

The downtown market followed, giving back 336,000 square feet. The San Fernando Valley also saw a rise in vacancy rates.

Beverly Hills is listed as having 12,717,706-square feet of commercial office space or rentable building area (RBA).  Of that total inventory, 1,027,928-square feet is vacant as of the end of 2008.  This results in the 8.1 percent vacancy rate. 

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