Atlanta’s office market continues to struggle

The health of Atlanta’s office market has long been a crucial measure of the local economy’s vitality. And, at the moment, the signs aren’t too encouraging.

Office vacancy rates remain stubbornly high; demand is growing only modestly; and some vaunted addresses are still struggling to shake off the economic downturn. Some analysts and experts fear the figures, released this month, are the latest indicator that Atlanta’s recovery is more sluggish than it seems.

Atlanta’s office market is directly tied to the city’s growth, as full office towers are a sign of jobs being created or resurrected. But the market has been dominated in recent years by a complex game of musical chairs as firms use a glut of extra space as a way to negotiate for cheaper rates or better concessions in different parts of town.

It’s not all doom and gloom. The vacancy rates have dropped from the height of the recession and some studies show metro Atlanta’s absorption rate — a measure of the net gain or loss in the office rental market — is at its highest since before the recession.

Subscribers can read our full report on the office market’s ongoing struggles – as well as the bright spots in the sector – in Friday’s AJC or on our subscription tablet app.