Fairfield Office Vacancy Rate Remains Low as GE Pullout Nears

The Fairfield Office Market is comprised of 1,600,000 square feet of inventory not including the 526,000 square foot GE corporate headquarters.  At the close of the  2nd Quarter 2016, the vacancy rate in Fairfield is 6.0%, 840 basis points lower than the Fairfield County market.  The Fairfield Office vacancy rate has historically been below Fairfield County, due primarily to relatively low inventory.

Earlier in the year, GE announced it would sell its Fairfield corporate headquarters and move to Boston by 2018, creating significant uncertainty related to future uses of the property.  CBRE has been retained to advise GE on the sale of the property as local real estate investment firm, Kleban Properties, is aggressively pursuing an acquisition.  Given the overall weakness in the suburban corporate campus market, an adaptive re-use of the property is most likely.  At a forum organized in Fairfield by the League of Women Voters last week, Ken Kleban, president of Kleban Properties, indicated that potential uses could include a partnership with Fairfield University for an executive learning center, restaurant and hotel development, a private school, a recreational component, and an assisted living facility.  Regardless of the future of the property, it is unlikely that GE’s relocation will have a direct impact on the Fairfield office market, which is primarily comprised of 10,000 square foot to 50,000 square foot professional and medical office buildings along the I-95 corridor.