Vacancies in downtown Hartford prime office buildings still remain high, but if the state consolidates office workers into two buildings in the city, the decline would be dramatic, a commercial real estate expert said this morning.
CBRE-New England’s John M. McCormick told those gathered at the firm’s annual outlook event that vacancies in downtown Class A space would decline from the current 26 percent to about 17 percent — bringing the market closer to the 12 percent that favors neither landlord nor tenant.
The state is expected to move 2,500 workers into two locations — Connecticut River Plaza and 55 Farmington Ave. — it will either lease or purchase — most likely buy — as it consolidates nearly 20 leases for space it now occupies.
Speculation about the move has swirled for months, and a decision is expected this year.
The biggest benefit to the downtown market would come if the state occupies Connecticut River Plaza, the twin-towered, 575,000-square-foot complex just to the east of Constitution Plaza. The complex is now entirely vacant.
Just outside downtown Hartford, the 12-story, 287,000-square-foot tower at 55 Farmington Ave. is owned by The Hartford Financial Services Group and has been up for sale.
Jeffrey Beckham, a spokesman for the state Department of Administrative Services, declined comment today. The Hartford didn’t immediately have a comment this morning.
McCormick said the ripple effect on the downtown economy would be dramatic with that many workers going out to lunch in the city and taking advantage of other attractions.