Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

FCEDA sort of acknowledges shift to smaller office space per worker, Planning staff still doesn'f

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) released its year-end 2012 commercial real estate report yesterday (FINALLY!) and, lo and behold, it says:

One trend among office users is to consolidate operations closer to where employees live to reduce travel time and maximize productivity. Many companies’ emphasis is toward more cubicles or an open floor plan. In certain industry sectors, the focus is on hoteling. . . .
Click here for the full FCEDA semi-annual report.  

This is the first time any official Fairfax County body has hinted at acknowledging that office space per worker is getting smaller, a point we made in a letter to Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova a couple of weeks.  The implication is that we will need much less office space growth to achieve the jobs:housing balance we are seeking in Reston's station areas--which are heavily weighted toward office space (a J:HH ratio of 14:1).

RCA first highlighted the problem in its comments on the first draft of the Reston areawide plan language in early March.  Still, DPZ has not lowered the space per office worker number from 300GSF to a more appropriate value in the 100-200GSF range. 

For the record, the vacancy rate in County office properties was higher at the end of 2012 than 2011.  Here's what the report says:
The overall and direct office vacancy rates rose for the third straight reporting period, closing the yearat 16.7 percent and 14.4 percent, respectively. At yearend 2011, the overall rate was 15.6 percent, andthe direct rate was 13.7 percent. Both available relet and sublet inventories have increased over the past three reporting periods.
In Reston, the overall vacancy rate was running 18.1% at year end and direct vacancy rates were 14.9%, both above the County average.  

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