A combined total of 117 million square feet of office space is located within the Tri-City area. Totaling nearly 50 million square feet at the end of 2013, the Charlotte market is the largest of the three North Carolina office markets. The Triangle market ranked second with 41.4 million square feet of office space, while the Triad maintained 25.7 million square feet of office space. After reporting a total of 1.48 million square feet of new office construction in the Charlotte, Triangle, and Triad regions during 2012, new supply came to a halt during 2013 and marked the first time in over 25 years that no new office space was completed in the combined Tri-City region.
The decrease in supply-side pressure allowed for gains to be reported in each of the Tri-City markets. The Charlotte market reported the greatest gains during 2013 as net absorption (demand) totaling 1.3 million square feet resulted in a 2.5%-point decrease in the office vacancy rate. The year-end 2013 rate of 14.8% in Charlotte was the lowest vacancy rate among the three markets, with the Triangle and Triad both reporting a rate of 15.0%. The year-end 2013 Triangle vacancy rate was 0.6% of a point lower than the year-end 2012 rate as net absorption totaled 204,615 square feet. The Triad region reported a 0.2% of a point decrease in vacancy during 2013 as net absorption totaled 162,219 square feet.
With net absorption totaling 1.3 million square feet, the Charlotte region reported the highest level of net demand during 2013. The Triangle region ranked second in terms of office demand during 2013 with net absorption totaling 204,615 square feet. The Triad market reported 162,219 square feet of net demand during 2013. Four office tenants occupied over 100,000 square feet in the Tri-City markets during 2013, with the largest tenant occupancy reported at Ballantyne – Gragg Building, where MetLife took 284,212 square feet. MetLife also accounted for the fourth largest gain as the company took 104,747 square feet of space at Ballantyne Three. Ballantyne Corporate Park also accounted for the largest contraction during 2013 in the Tri-City markets as AXA Equitable Life Insurance relocated from 152,000 square feet at Ballantyne – Rushmore One to 141,647 square feet at Innovation Park Building 202.