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Aug. 19, 2013

Downtown Cleveland Attracts Leasing but Loses Skylight Financial Group

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

The Cleveland office market had a strong start to 2013, and it continued to see activity throughout the first half of the year. According to CBRE Group Inc., the office market finished the second quarter with 124,568 square feet of positive absorption. The overall vacancy rate, while still high, decreased to 20.2 percent.

The Central Business District had 67,069 square feet of positive absorption, higher than the suburban market, with the vacancy rate decreasing to 19.7 percent from 20.3 percent in the previous quarter. A series of lease renewals and expansions suggested that tenants are striving to lock up space.

In spite of this trend, though, there are still some companies looking to leave downtown Cleveland.

According to The Plain Dealer, Skylight Financial Group will move roughly 100 workers from the Skylight Office Tower at Tower City in downtown Cleveland to the United Bank Building at West 25th and Lorain Avenue in Ohio City. The company has signed a 10-year lease for nearly 18,000 square feet on the top floor of the building. Skylight will also occupy a penthouse that building owner MRN Ltd. will construct for it.

This is an unusual move for a financial-planning firm, as Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood is better known for its breweries (it has the largest concentration of breweries in the city). However, Skylight executives told The Plain Dealer they see this move as an opportunity to contribute to the revitalization of the neighborhood and also recruit more young professionals. They selected Ohio City because they believe the company will have a greater impact in this area than in Cleveland’s downtown.

The move is just what Ari Maron of MRN Ltd. has been waiting for. It provides the United Bank Building with the right anchor and also brings its occupancy up to 95 percent.

Skylight Financial Group isn’t the only company to leave downtown Cleveland. Eaton Corp. left its former offices at 1111 Superior Ave. downtown in February. It moved 700 employees to Eaton Center, a 580,000-square-foot building in Beachwood.

Photo credits: Skylight Financial Group
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