Falling rents
May 11, 2010

Studley Inc., the office-tenant rep firm, is getting a deal that shows how far Center City office space rates have fallen in the past couple of years.

Studley is moving from One Liberty Place into a corner of the space next door at Two Liberty that Unisys had set aside for its headquarters in 2007.

Unisys cancelled that move after the recession whacked its sales, neighbors refused to allow the company to post its sign on the building's glass facade, and the CEO who wanted to move downtown from Blue Bell had to go.

So what's Studley paying? The asking rent was "in the low $30s" per square foot, senior vice president Gregory S. Soffian told me. That's what firms were paying for premium office-tower suites in Center City back in 2007.

Two years later, "They were marketing the space at $25," Soffian said. Studley ended up paying less, Soffian explained, but "not less than $20." That's what firms were paying for similar space in Philadelphia 20 years ago - before inflation.