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Office vacancies in Pittsburgh market increase from 14.1 to 15.4 percent

| Monday, April 8, 2013, 9:24 p.m.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
From left, One Oliver Plaza (K&L Gates), the EQT building and Two PNC Plaza building downtown Friday, January 10, 2014.

Office vacancies in the Pittsburgh market increased in the three months ending March 31, despite a continuing decline in the amount of space available Downtown, according to a report.

The region's overall vacancy rate reached 15.4 percent, up from the 14.1 percent at the end of 2012, according to Newmark Grubb Knight Frank's First Quarter Office Market Trends report. It blamed the increase on subdued activity and the addition of more than 200,000 square feet of sublease space.

Sublease space is leased by an existing tenant, which has or will vacate the property, and wants to sublease the space to another tenant to reduce or meet its rental expense.

The Downtown office market improved, with its vacancy rate declining to 14.4 percent from 15.5 percent at the end of 2012.

There was a slight increase in vacancies in the tight Oakland/East End market, rising to 7.2 percent from 6.8 percent. The area with the highest vacancy rate is the eastern region with 30.8 percent, up from 26.5 percent.

A hectic pace of property sales Downtown during the fourth quarter of 2012 declined during the first quarter, the report said. Buyers rushed to take advantage of a real estate tax loophole, which ended Jan. 1.

Among the major leases Downtown during the January-March period were Leech Tishman at 525 William Penn Place; Schneider Downs at One PPG Place; and EQT Corp. adding space at EQT Plaza, 625 Liberty Ave.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at sspatter@tribweb.com.

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