Oklahoma City growth chases away Chesapeake Energy's shadow

Two energy companies left nearly 1 million square feet of office vacant in 2013, but other, mostly homegrown companies were quick to absorb most of it, according to Price Edwards & Co.
by Richard Mize Modified: February 15, 2014 at 10:00 am •  Published: February 15, 2014

Chesapeake Energy Corp. cast an 800,000-square-foot shadow over Oklahoma City’s office market last year, but the city shined on.

Suburban vacancy still dropped from 11.8 percent to 11.6 percent “despite the onslaught of inventory,” Price Edwards & Co. reported in its 2013 year-end office market summary. “The suburban markets continue to thrive,” the firm said, even with Chesapeake’s divestiture of office buildings and consolidation onto its corporate campus at NW 63 and Western Avenue.

It was a year for the suburban record books.

“To put things in perspective, the largest single year for suburban absorption since we began tracking the market 28 years ago was 1994 when an additional 486,000 square feet was occupied by local tenants,” according to the report by Craig Tucker, office specialist and managing broker. “This year the net absorption was a modest 22,000 square feet, but that’s a net number.

“Despite approximately 800,000 square feet of inventory being added to the suburban market, more space is occupied than it was a year ago. Had the Chesapeake space not been added to the market, it would have easily been the best year for the suburbs since the inception of our reports.”

Meanwhile, downtown “was admirably fighting through the task of replacing its largest user of leased space” as Devon Energy Corp. vacated some 225,000 square feet at First National Center, 120 N Robinson, and the newly renovated Braniff Building added another 90,000 square feet at 324 N Robinson.

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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