Vacancy rate climbs in Columbia commercial office market, report says

The Old Dobbin Business Park in Columbia was purchased by Goodier Properties for $37 million. (photo sent)

Although nearly 350,000 square feet of commercial office space was leased in the second quarter of 2022, the overall vacancy rate in the Columbia area increased slightly to 13.2%, after ending the first quarter of 2022 at 12.7% according to the latest market report published by Lee & Associates | Maryland.

Negative net absorption increased to nearly 24,000 square feet of space from 14,000 square feet of space, but the average rental rate rose again slightly to $26.48 from $26.45 per square foot, which continued a recent trend, according to the fully integrated commercial real estate brokerage and management company headquartered in Colombia.

Significant leasing transactions included the 85,000 square foot lease by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield at 6100 Merriweather Drive; the 63,600 square foot lease signed by Merkel at 7001 Columbia Gateway Drive and the 21,000 square foot lease signed by Venture X at 8865 Stanford Boulevard.

Sales transaction volume topped $76 million, led by the $37 million purchase of the Old Dobbin Business Park from Columbia by Goodier Properties. Other significant sales were Betnall Green Oak’s acquisition of 4801 Dorsey Hall Drive in Ellicott City for $21.3 million and the $6 million purchase of 9811 Mallard Drive in Laurel.

No commercial office buildings were delivered in Q2 and only two buildings, totaling 80,000 square feet of space, are currently under construction. This includes the 60,000 square foot building at 7140 Contee Road in Laurel and a 20,000 square foot project at 6761 Dorsey Road near BWI in Howard County.

Lee & Associates is a commercial real estate brokerage, management and appraisal services firm. Founded in 1979, Lee & Associates has expanded its service platform to include offices in the United States and Canada. Lee & Associates provides superior market intelligence in office, industrial, retail, investment and valuation to meet the specialized needs of our clients.

Jose C. Birney