Denver office lease rates continue to rise as Denver’s economy improves. The increase in Denver office lease rates was a trend that started in fourth quarter of 2012 while vacancy rates fell for the past six quarters. Average lease rates came in at $22.36 while direct vacancy rate fell to 13.3%. More than 831,439 square feet of Denver office space was leased in first quarter of 2014, which was 110,239 square feet more than was absorbed in first quarter of 2013. The absorption was mainly driven by small user activity in key industry sectors including energy and professional services. Construction also continued at a steady pace with more than 2.1 million square feet of office buildings under construction, levels not seen since 2007. Lower downtown led the way with 800,000 square feet of speculative construction while other large construction projects include: 149,000 square foot office building at 100 St. Paul St. for FirstBank, 80,000 square foot office space at 250 Columbine St., Mile High Development’s Museum Center, a 179,000 square foot office/hotel building. The downtown submarket had the highest average lease rates at $30.17 per square foot while the lowest average lease rates came in at $12.16 for the West Hampden/ Alameda submarket. Boulder posted the lowest vacancy rate of 7.4%.