By: Morgan Ross, Senior Research Manager
A talented workforce and an unbeatable quality of life continue to draw companies to the Raleigh-Durham area, increasing demand for Class A office space. To help better understand the changing office market, we have analyzed and summarized project demand from companies requesting Class-A office space as well as the current Class-A office developments under construction.
Class-A Office - Annual Project Demand
To help prepare and educate our partners on the most requested Class-A office requests we have analyzed data from (01/1/2019 – 1/1/2020). The data below represents an overview of Class-A Office requests received by Wake County Economic Development from project leads over the last 12 months. The information shows details on the types of companies looking for Class-A office space, the amount of Class-A office space available, and the timeframe in which these companies are requiring availability and occupancy of the Class-A office space.
Project activity for Class-A office space remains in high demand. The average company looking for Class-A office space in the region is interested in large square-foot blocks ranging from 50,000 to 150,000 square feet, on average. Demand for existing Class-A office space is at an all-time high, with almost 85% of Class-A office space inquires requesting space in an existing building.
In comparison to previous years, companies now expect the site selection process and move-in to be expedited. On average, companies are requesting Class-A office space to be available for occupancy immediately, or within six months of the initial real estate/project request. With shorter timelines, companies are also requesting short-term office space for 50-100 people, while waiting on the permanent location.
The majority of companies interested in Class-A office space are Software/IT companies, research and development companies, back-office/shared-services operations, and major headquarter operations.
Additionally, companies are becoming interested in a combination of the Class-A office and R&D/lab, as well as creative office space. High parking ratios continue to be a deciding factor in companies choosing where to locate. This is partially due to companies needing less square-feet per employee, in turn, needing more parking spaces than the traditional parking ratio standard of 4:1.
Class-A Office - Development Activity
With dozens of developments set to open this year, millions of square feet of office space will become available as new and expanding companies continue to drive increased demand for office space across the region.
To keep up with demand, over a dozen new office towers and other developments are underway in the region’s multiple Central Business Districts for this year – from Class A corporate high rises in downtown Raleigh and North Hills to flourishing office parks and adapted reuse projects in towns such as Apex, Garner, Cary and Morrisville.
According to a recent report by Colliers International, 2019 began with over 1.5 million square feet of office space under construction and ended with just under 2 million square feet underway. Around 1.4 million square feet of Class A office space was delivered last year and numerous new projects were proposed.
|301 Hillsborough at Raleigh Crossing||Tower Two at Bloc 
301 Hillsborough at Raleigh Crossing is the first of three planned towers that will comprise The Fallon Company’s transformative 1.86-acre mixed-use development in Downtown Raleigh. This 19-story mixed-use development, which will include 300,000 square feet of Class-A office, 18,000 square feet of retail, a hotel with over 160 rooms and nearly 150 apartment units, broke ground on Phase 1 in September 2019. Fast-growing software firm Pendo’s new headquarters will occupy five floors and 125,000 square feet of the 300,000-square-foot first-class commercial tower. Completion of the 19-story high rise is scheduled for the last quarter of 2021.
Tower Two at Bloc is a $108 million, 10-story mixed-use development that includes 159,000 square feet of Class A office space and 30,000 square feet of retail. Tower Two is part of the Bloc  development, which includes two class-A high-rise office buildings, 50,000 sf of carefully selected retail and dining options, a 126-room boutique hotel, two parking decks, and a shared urban courtyard and terrace.
Other major office developments planning to open in 2020 include:
Smoky Hollow, Raleigh: Smoky Hollow will feature 223,000 square feet of Class A office space, structured parking, 417 modern apartment homes, and an energetic pedestrian promenade encompassed by 40,000 square feet of restaurants and retail, including Publix grocery store. The mixed-use project is part of the first grocery anchored multifamily development in downtown. The first two phase of Smoky Hollow at 421 N. Harrington Street, is set to deliver October 2020.
Twenty Three 33, Cary: Highly sought-after creative office space situated in a dynamic mixed-use district in Cary. Dominion Realty Partners is expected to complete construction of the 133,000 square feet Class-A Office building by Q2 2020.
Wade V, Raleigh: Dominion Realty Partners is expected to complete construction of the 167,000-square feet Class-A Office building by April 2020.
INQ 1101, Morrisville: INQ 1101 is set to feature 140,302 square feet of office space at the former Sam’s Club site in Morrisville, tenant occupancy available August 2020
The Stitch, Morrisville: The Stitch features 250,000 square feet of office space built out of the former Morrisville Outlet Mall. Delivery planned for Q2 2020.
3800 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh: Grubb Ventures’ 3800 Glenwood Avenue is a 5-story, 110,000 square feet office building on Glenwood Avenue set to deliver in Q2 2020. Only 57,000 square feet is currently available for lease.
GlenLake Seven, Raleigh: Highwood Properties plans to deliver GlenLake Seven in west Raleigh in July 2020. The property features 125,000 square feet of office space and is expected to become the Raleigh REIT’s new headquarters.
Palisades III, Raleigh: Palisades III is located in a prominent West Raleigh location. This 6-story, 166,290 square feet Class-A office building is expected to deliver by February 2021.
The Advance Auto Parts Tower, Raleigh is the latest corporate high rise set to open this year in North Hills, one of several Central Business Districts in the region. The tower’s 328,648 square feet of office space is fully leased as of January 2020.