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A Case for the 'Burbs

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A Case for the 'Burbs

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Arden Realty's Laura Quayle (snapped two weekends ago at her daughter Maddie's high school graduation) is regional director of leasing for the company's 4.2M SF Class-A office portfolio in the 'burbs, making her a first-round pick for Bisnow's June 25 event, Death of the Suburbs? Not so Fast. (Fact: She also has a mean tennis serve.) Laura has seen a slight uptick in suburban office, but the market remains "pretty flat." (She forecasts Arden occupancies will go from 80% to 82%.) But terrible traffic downtown, proximity to executives' homes, and favorable economics are keeping many companies there, she notes. "It's sort of inertianot that many tenants want to disturb their workforce bad enough to do a wholesale move downtown." (While gravity can be a hindrance to skyscrapers, inertia is still our friend.)

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You can't forget big moves like Hillshire Brands and University Health System, but Laura says they're the exception. Plus rising downtown office rents will help the suburban case, as tenants stand to gain superior product for substantially lower cost. Arden's local portfolio has performed well this year, with a large deal pending at Westbrook Corporate Center (above) in Westchester with a "longtime suburban Chicago company," she hints. Other companies areupgrading from owned Class-C office space to Class-A multitenant buildings (Castle Metals, Graycor, Lawson Products), given competitiverental rates.