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Introduction and Summary of Findings

The Friendship Heights Office Market (1995)

I. Introduction
II. Summary of findings

I. Introduction

The friendship Heights Commercial Area is an attractive location for office development. Centered around the intersection of Wisconsin and Western Avenues and serviced by the Washington Metro Red Line, the area is accessible by both roads and public transit. In addition to an existing office space inventory of 1.9 million square feet, the study area has 400 hotel tooms, 2.2 million square feet of retail space, and more than 3,400 residential units. The sum of these elements produces a dynamic downtown, attractive to development and employers. The high quality of the Friendship Heights physical environment and stable surrounding neighborhoods further enhances the marketability of the area.

Retailing in Friendship Heights serves a neighborhood and regional function. The neighborhood retail facilities serve nearby households with groceries and other day-to-day goods and services. The area's full range of comparison shopping, including general merchandise, apparel, home furnishings, and four department stores draws shoppers from the larger region.

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II. Summary of findings

  • There are approximately 1.3 million square feet of leasable office space and 550,000 square feet of owner-occupied space in the area.
  • Almost 290,000 square feet in newer space were absorbed over the last 5 years. This was offset by 85,000 square feet of older space becoming vacant -- a net absorption of 205,000 square feet.
  • From 1985 to 1995, absorption has been about 400,000 square feet or 40,000 square feet per year.
  • There are curently 143,700 square feet of vacant office space in the area, accounting for 11 percent of the area's leasable office space.
  • Most of Friendship Heights' office vacancies can be found in older, Class B and C space, with 75 percent of vacancies located in buildings built before 1980. The vacancy rate in pot-1979 buildings is 5 percent compared to 17 percent in the pre-1980 buildings.
  • Nearly 850,000 square feet of office space are approved for Friendship Heights.
  • Research & Technology Center staff analysis yields a potential market demand for office space of between 800,000 and 1,200,000 square feet during the next 20 years.

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