I'm sure many of you saw the annual commercial real estate report from BOMA this week. We are incredibly grateful to Joe Spartz and his team for collecting and distributing this kind of data every year about our downtown. I would like to add some additional reflections and context to that data.
First, our growing residential population is great for downtown Saint Paul in the long run. A vibrant residential population will help attract the kind of amenities and 24/7 activity that makes downtown a more inviting place for employers.
Second, while the vacancy rate for competitive office space continues to be high, it doesn’t acknowledge the large inventory of owner occupied and government space (not unusual for capital cities) present in downtown Saint Paul. The total commercial office space (including those two categories), has a vacancy rate in downtown Saint Paul of just 10%.
When we exclusively consider our competitive vacancy rate, we have just a few buildings that for their own reasons negatively impact the rest of the market. If you remove Landmark Tower from our Class A vacancy rate, it drops to just 14%; if you drop 180 East 5
and Cray Plaza from the calculation, the vacancy for Class B drops to 16%.
This is not to say that we don't have important work to do in an effort to drive more jobs and vitality downtown. But the context and details of the overall market conditions downtown are actually much better than they may appear at a glance.
Next week we'll be headed to the International Downtown Association conference in Baltimore to learn from industry experts, and we're excited to come back full of inspiration! We'll share more next week.
See you all around (down)town,
The Saint Paul Downtown Alliance