An influx in Innsbrook

The Innsbrook area office market, which saw vacancy skyrocket above 20 percent after the recession decimated some of Richmond’s largest companies, is heating back up.

Atlanta-based bank SunTrust leased two floors of the vacant Westmark II office building, the landlord announced this week.

SunTrust’s 84,000-square-foot lease will fill the second and third floors of the building, leaving about 120,000 square feet on the first, fourth and fifth floors open, said Jeff Cooke, a broker with Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer who represented Westmark Two’s owners, New Boston Fund and RER Equities.

The building at 11013 W. Broad St. has been empty since last summer, when the last of MeadWestvaco’s employees left the former headquarters building, Cooke said. MeadWestvaco has a shiny new headquarters building close to the river downtown.

“SunTrust came on the market toward the end of last year, and they found this to be the best fit for them,” Cooke said. “For a tenant this size, there are very few spaces available. There just isn’t that much contiguous space.”

SunTrust said in a statement that the bank was using the space to consolidate its mortgage and consumer banking operations. SunTrust also has offices in downtown Richmond and in Manchester.

Cooke said the remaining top two floors had to be leased by single tenants but that the first floor could have multiple tenants.

Will Bradley, an analyst at CBRE, said that the vacancy rate after the first quarter was about 24 percent but that the number should be closer to 10 percent once major tenants such as SunTrust and Mondial, which recently leased up Deep Run I, move in. (CBRE’s number counts buildings that are occupied, not leased.)

The other major block of vacant office space in the submarket is the 382,000-square-foot Deep Run III, one of Circuit City’s former headquarters buildings.

That building’s broker, Mark Douglas of Thalhimer, said that Deep Run III has generated a lot of interest and that he is working on space-planning proposals for multiple tenants.

In the meantime, Douglas said owners Markel Eagle and Diversified Realty Ventures are putting money into renovations, including a gym, locker room and showers.

“It’s a great building that’s getting turned into an even better building,” he said.

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