AURORA | Just this spring, the office tower at 1450 S. Havana St. had more vacant space than it did tenants.
Just 25 percent of the space near Havana and East Florida Avenue — just south of the booming Gardens on Havana shopping district — was in use.
But then, in something of a coup for Aurora officials looking to boost the city’s international reputation, the El Salvador Consulate moved into the building, and started luring other tenants to the tower.
Today, according to Havana Business Improvement district executive director Gayle Jetchick, the building is 85-percent full, thanks in large part to businesses who wanted to be near the consulate.
“This is a huge improvement,” she said in the BID’s monthly newsletter.
And it isn’t just that tower on Havana that is seeing vacant office spaces replaced by paying tenants. Across the Havana business district, the retail vacancy is sitting at an all time low at 2.5 percent. Jetchick said that figure doesn’t include the Kimco Village on the Park property on Havana between East Iliff Avenue and Parker Road because it is pending demolition and the spaces are not being leased out.
Across the city, officials say the vacancy rate for office space is 8.1 percent as of late 2017, and the open rate for industrial space is 6.8 percent, according to the Aurora Economic Development Council. Lease rates for office spaces are averaging $17.97 per square foot and $5.01 for industrial space.
According to Collier’s International, which tracks commercial real estate data, all office rents climbed in the second quarter of 2017 to $26.66 per square foot, up from $25.82 in 2016. The region’s vacancy rate also inched up to 12.4 percent from 11.1 percent a year prior.
Yuriy Gorlov, vice president of AEDC, said Aurora has never been known for high-end office space the way the Denver Tech Center and Downtown Denver have been, but the city has seen marked improvement in recent years.
“We are in good shape these days,” Gorlov said.
Since the recession, Gorlov said Aurora has seen a pretty steady drop in vacancy rates and along with a steady rise in rents.
Aurora may not be on par with Denver and the DTC when it comes to high-end, Class A office space, but Gorlov said the image of Aurora office space is changing.
Part of that is driven by transit-oriented developments that have helped attract companies looking for easy access for their employees, he said.
Aurora also benefits from having ample developable land, he said, something few cities of Aurora’s size can really boast.
AEDC has seen the changing rental market first hand.
In 2015, the agency, which is tasked with luring new businesses to the city, was based in a large office building at Interstate 225 and East Iliff Avenue.
Gorlov said after that building sold, the rents spiked and AEDC had to look for new digs a short distance away.
Moving is never the easiest for a business, but Gorlov said for AEDC it was a good sign to see rents climbing in Aurora.
“Ultimately it’s a good thing to fill up the B and C class space we are in,” he said.