Empty Offices

October 10, 2008 1:14:44 AM PDT
The economic downturn has led to an increase in empty office spaces in Fresno. While some businesses are closing all together, others are downsizing to stay afloat.22 percent of the North Pointe Center's square footage sits empty. Alma Moreno works inside one of it's buildings. "Within the last month, 2 months, we've had three offices leave the building, they're no longer here," said Moreno.

While some businesses are closing their doors for good, others are moving. Brandon Lamonica specializes in office leasing with Fresno's Fortune Associates. He says about half of his recent clients have been looking to downsize. "I think everybody's been just trying to tighten things down on operating expenses and trying to stay cost effective and trying not to lay people off," said Lamonica.

Overall, Fresno's vacancy rate is at 17.7 percent, nearly double what is considered normal. But some areas have been hit especially hard. Northwest Fresno's vacancy rate is at 18.7 percent, while Clovis is at 22.5. Lamonica says the vacancies are the result of a large growth cycle over the last few years and the bad economy. "We've probably had a combination of being overbuilt a little bit and then the quick change in the economy has also affected it so it's kind of the perfect storm between the two incidences.

The good news is if you are a prospective tenant, you have plenty of office space to choose from, and as a result you may be able to find a better deal.

Lamonica says areas that have seen the most growth recently like Northwest Fresno and the Woodward Park area also have the highest rents. He says it could be a while before all that empty office space finds a new use.

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