On the 20th anniversary of the initial publication of the Saint Paul Office Market Report, Greater Saint Paul Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) unveiled today a new website called Downtown Saint Paul DataSource. This new website creates a digital platform for the research data outlined in the Market Report, while expanding into important urban demographics such as residential population and retail.
Greater Saint Paul BOMA launched DataSource (www.spdatasource.com) as a means to track critical measures of growth in the central business district (CBD) in order to support the objectives of the Downtown Saint Paul Alliance (SPda). According to Julie Bauch, the SPda Co-chair and BOMA Board member, “This private sector/public sector partnership was initiated by BOMA to drive greater growth in the downtown area. DataSource will act as a centralized source of information to measure the success of the SPda’s initiatives.”
The overall occupancy rate of 90% includes Competitive, Government, and Owner-occupied space. Competitive office space continues to be very stable, remaining near 80%. Given the significant level of development occurring in downtown Saint Paul, BOMA anticipates the Competitive market occupancy level will trend upward over the next several years.
Total office space in the CBD consists of 50% Competitive space, which is up from 48% in 2012; 30% Government space, which is down from 32% two years ago; and 19% Owner-occupied space, which has remained stable. Examining Competitive office space alone, Class A space represents 26.28%, Class B space is 65.00%, and Class C space is 8.72%.
Downtown Saint Paul has experienced rapid growth in residential population since the end of the last recession. Based on a Maxfield Research, Inc. study, the total number of people living in the CBD has grown from 4,862 in 2010 to 7,881 by July of 2014, a 62% increase. “While some of this growth can be attributed to owner occupied units, a majority is tied to the rapid expansion of the rental market,” said Mary Bujold, President of Maxfield Research, Inc. “The total growth is the result of an increased occupancy rate, and new construction.” Several high profile apartment projects have recently been completed in downtown Saint Paul, including Pioneer Endicott, The Penfield and West Side Flats. Other projects, including Rayette Lofts, Custom House, and the Sibley Square building, when finished, will add an additional 400 units to the CBD.
In addition to numerous residential projects, investment of other types continues to make its way into downtown Saint Paul. The Green Line, CHS Field (St. Paul Saints’ ballpark) and the hotel purchases by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibway have been well documented. More recently has been the acquisition by Opus of the Seven Corners Hardware site for a mixed use project. Expected soon is the announcement regarding the development of the Seven Corners Gateway site. Retailers, led by Lunds and many new restaurants, have also added to a revitalization surge in the downtown area.