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2020 Q3 Milwaukee Office Market Report

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Market activity reflects impact of ongoing pandemic

The impact of the ongoing pandemic on the Metro Milwaukee office market was finally reflected in market activity during Q3, as negative absorption was seen for only the third time over the past two years. Coming on the heels of a strong Q2 that was aided by the delivery of new, pre-leased product, significant downsizes at current locations and consolidations among existing locations in the market were the driving forces behind the negative absorption for the quarter. While these large, negative movements occurred, a strong level of positive activity was seen in regard to tenants taking smaller spaces, indicating that operations are continuing for many tenants, and even growing in some cases, especially among suburban tenants. Given the smaller size of these deals, along with a near-equal amount of similarly sized move-outs, the impact on absorption of the larger, negative movements was amplified in the market. As a result, overall vacancy increased for the quarter, with the CBD, Central, Northwest and West submarkets all experiencing increases in vacancy.

Despite the Q3 drop, there is a solid pipeline of leasing activity coming at the end of the year and the first half of 2021, aided by deals signed both before and during the pandemic, as well as new deliveries on pace to complete in Q4. R1VER, a 202,000 square foot office being built in the Harbor District, and The Huron, nearly complete in the Downtown East submarket, are both on track to deliver by the end of the year, with The Huron welcoming anchor tenant Husch Blackwell in early November.

2019 Q3 Milwaukee Office

2020 Q3 Milwaukee Office Market Report

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Margaret Blair

Director of Marketing & Research


Margaret leads Colliers | Wisconsin’s Marketing and Research Group. In her role, Margaret is responsible for the creation of business development and marketing materials, oversees the marketing,  research and analytics platform,   providing interpretation and analysis of market trends to bolster the efforts of our advisors and clients. In addition, Margaret is responsible for leading the overall vision of the marketing and research platform, including its conversion to a distinct service line within our family of companies. Stepping outside of the traditional marketing and research role, Margaret’s team analyzes, interprets and presents data holistically in effort to guide more effective decision making for real estate owners, end users and community members. 

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