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January 17, 2018

Lack of office, manufacturing space cited as issue in Portland

A severe lack of quality office and manufacturing space is straining the Portland area economy, Drew Sigfridson, managing director of brokerage services at CBRE | The Boulos Co., said at the Mainebiz Five on the Future forum Tuesday.

Sigfridson said the lack of space means more new construction, which can drive up prices, particularly given the current cost of materials.

Sigfridson was part of a panel discussion that included Kathie Leonard, CEO and president of Auburn Manufacturing; Matt McGrath, president of Systems Engineering; Michael O'Hanlon, vice president of government and industry relations for Wayfair, and moderated by Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, executive vice president and senior policy advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

A report by Nate Stevens of CBRE | The Boulos Co. for Thursday's MEREDA 2018 Forecast Conference shows a steady decline in the Greater Portland office space vacancy rate from 10.5% in 2012 to 4.41% in 2017.

Stevens' conclusions in the report are that the Southern Maine office market continues to improve, but at a slower pace than in the past, and the vacancy rate is relatively flat. Older, unimproved products continue to struggle. Medical office space continues to be the market driver.

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