Best Ode to Empty Space

Robert Bach, Grubb & Ellis

Robert Bach, national director of market analysis for Grubb & Ellis, appeared at an annual industrial- and office-property owners' meeting in Denver to deliver the bad news about this city's commercial-vacancy rate, which isn't expected to reach 10 percent until 2008. And that's going down. To soften the blow, he offered this song:

At the start of '03, landlords knew it would be rough.

Tenants large and small, there just weren't enough.

Yet the construction pipeline kept delivering new space,

While leasing and absorption could not keep pace . . .

Office landlords suffered and moaned, but there was a silver lining.

Low interest rates and roller-coaster stocks kept buyers pining

For Class A buildings with solid rent rolls

And little rollover risk, that would be investor's gold.

But what of '04, what does our crystal ball tell us?

The market will improve, but not enough to make tenants jealous

Of landlords (who) won't have much bargaining power

Until 2005, when the market will be less dour

So tenants make your best deals soon,

Lock in long-term low rates and whistle a happy tune.

In 2004, landlords, you will begin to climb out of your hole,

And you'll all feel better in 2005

When the Broncos win the Super Bowl.

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