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Ashland vacancies don't worry brokers

Ashland vacancies don't worry brokers

ASHLAND ' Four new office spaces on Siskiyou Boulevard at Walker Street remain empty nine months after they were completed.

But the vacancies may be an anomaly.

A check of Multiple Listing Service data Wednesday showed no office space available, said Emile Cloutier Jr., broker with Gateway Real Estate. He did report that a few rentals not in the MLS listings are available.

Normally office space stays pretty well filled up, said Cloutier.

Siskiyou Crossing, with its four vacant spaces, was completed in November. Papa John's Pizza occupies one of the spots, which can be used for either office or retail operations.

We receive inquiries on a regular basis, but we don't have anything concrete that we can comment on right now, said Alex Jansen, Siskiyou Crossing project manager.

I think that Ashland's economy is a good long-term location to be in. It doesn't seem to be subject to some of the highs and lows that some of the more industrial cities are.

Jansen believes the slow economy affected one potential lessee. A national brokerage firm was set to go into a space, but pulled out after the stock market declined. We've been a little disappointed, he said.

Jansen will have to wait for the right tenants, said David Lively, with Commercial Property Management. A real estate or insurance office that needs exposure might be an ideal client, said Lively.

Another, relatively new office space sat vacant for eight months, said Lively. But such vacancies are not normal.

A 3,000-square-foot office on A Street went quickly after a local software firm was purchased by a national company.

I think there's a need for more Class A office space in Ashland, said Lively. There's not anybody building a lot of new office space.

Class A is prime commercial space of quality construction. It usually rents for &

36;1.35 to &

36;1.50 per square foot in Ashland, said Lively.

Class B, found at secondary locations and having construction of a lower quality than Class A, goes for 90 cents to &

36;1.10 per square foot. Class C is below that rate. Smaller spaces bring higher rates.

Unlike Medford, Ashland office space is usually rented on a modified plan that doesn't include other property-associated costs, Lively said.

As a result, rents in Ashland are a little below those in Medford.

What we get mostly are people looking for home businesses that are expanding. They want to have an office, said Lively. There's risks factors associated with moving startups. Those people are not generally looking for class A space.

Long-term tenants are valued. Some landlords won't bump up long-term tenant (rent) because they know they have a viable tenant that will stay there for another 10 to 15 years, said Lively.

Planning commissioners have seen just five applications for office developments since the beginning of the year. Two will not be available as commercial rentals. Two others are planned for medical uses.

It's rather light. I was surprised to see that, said planner Brandon Goldman.

Lease signs are now up in a just-completed building beside the railroad tracks at Van Ness and Helman streets. Developer Wes Vail doesn't anticipate a problem leasing the two office spaces.

Reach Ashland bureau reporter Tony Boom at 482-4651, or e-mail