When Brandon Cannady opened his office space leasing company, Venture Business Centers, in downtown Portland in July, he was hoping it would start growing by about May of 2015. Instead, 95 percent of his 7,000 square feet had already been spoken for by the beginning of September.
To Cannady, a real estate investor who founded the company with his wife, Kerri, that's due largely to his all-inclusive pricing model for exclusive office space, which charges tenants a flat fee for rent, printing, a receptionist and other services.
But it also speaks to Portland's constrained office space market. According to commercial real estate firm Kidder Mathews, the metro area had the tightest office space market in the country in the second quarter of this year, with a vacancy rate just below 9 percent.
Tech firms are a big part of that trend, so it's no surprise that a chunk of Cannady's space is currently being used by Aruba Networks, a wireless enterprise network infrastructure company that's looking to establish a permanent downtown location by early to mid 2015. The shop Aruba eventually sets up here will employ between 70 and 100 people.
As for Cannady, he's looking for additional space downtown to expand Venture Business Centers, in the neighborhood of around 12,000 square feet, on top of what he already has. He's hoping to share news of his expansion at a Portland Business Alliance ribbon cutting and networking event next week.
"My five-year plan was to have five locations in Portland before moving into Seattle," Cannady said. "I expect we'll hit that sooner, so we'll see how that plays out."
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