Meridian: The Treasure Valley’s office hotspot

As vacancies decline and rental rates rise, look for speculative building to take off for Boise’s little brother.

sberg@idahostatesman.comNovember 19, 2013 

Not every company wants to put its office headquarters in Meridian. Downtown Boise will always be the preferred locations for many, especially law firms, nonprofits and government agencies.

But some businesses don’t need Downtown’s visibility or exposure to politicians and powerbrokers. Some don’t even like the location.

For firms that specialize in fields such as insurance, technology sales and repair, mortgages, residential real estate and engineering, Meridian is a better and cheaper option, says Lew Manglos, an office brokerage specialist for commercial real estate firm Colliers International.

Meridian offers more parking space for employees than many Downtown buildings, Manglos says. More importantly, it is the center of the Treasure Valley’s population and geography.

That helps companies on two levels, he says.

“If they’ve got employees coming in to their office from around the Valley, it’s a central point,” Manglos says. “If they have to go out and see clients, it’s very likely a central point as well.”

Accessibility to Interstate 84 is a big selling point for some of Meridian’s office buildings too, Manglos says.

“If you’re a national company, and you don’t want to be in Downtown Boise — if that’s not a requirement or a desire — and you are establishing your first location in this area, you’re most likely looking at Meridian,” he says.

Over the past year, office vacancy in Meridian has plummeted from 18.5 percent to 11.7 percent, according to statistics Colliers tracks.

Thornton Oliver Keller, another major commercial real estate firm in Boise, shows Meridian office vacancy rising due to the completion of space in The Village at Meridian and Scentsy’s move to a new headquarters in Meridian. Thornton Oliver Keller’s year-to-date numbers reflect the same trend Manglos talks about, with the largest net absorption of any Treasure Valley submarket.

At the same time, rental rates have risen and now stand at about $20 per square foot for office space with easy freeway access, Manglos says. He says rental rates are within 10 percent of what developers need to make in order to justify building more office space.

Right now, there are no major office projects in the works in Meridian, Manglos says. But if vacancy continues to fall and rates keep rising, he says, it’s only a matter of time before developers start building to meet demand.

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Sven Berg: 377-6275

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