Most Portland Office Space Grows In Suburbs

Office space in the Portland metro area grew by a net 1.45 million square feet in 2005, but only 150,000 was added to Portland's commercial core in Multnomah county. The rest, almost 90 percent, was distributed across three suburban counties.

Portland continued in the last year to exhibit a recent pattern of job dispersal to suburban employment sites, a trend that conflicts with regional goals to limit sprawl. Some observers attribute the suburbanization of employment to higher taxes and land development costs in the central city and county. Others believe that it reflects market preferences for campus-style office parks and low-rise buildings that can more easily accomodate the needs of high-tech firms for flexibile space.

One long-time broker said "It's basically not growing" downtown. "The growth is in the suburbs, and it's spilling into downtown." Another, whose firm is active in both the Portland and Seattle markets, said "The same general trends are occurring in Seattle as well." He indicated that the Bellevue area east of Seattle has performed far better than downtown in recent years. "The trend you're seeing out in Portland is more exaggerated than you're seeing in other downtown markets," he added. "The challenge we have as a community is to figure out why that's occurred."

Thanks to Dick Nelson

Full Story: Office presence grows in suburbs

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