23 December 2020

The Downtown Office Is An Anachronism

Once upon a time, it was necessary to be close to people to be able to work with them. Manhattan’s office leasing taking a dive. That statemenmt on the need for poximity hasn't been true in a while, and COVID-19 has made that apparent to everyone, not just those of us in tech.

CBRE’s latest activity report found that year-to-date leasing of 11.87 million square feet was down 58 percent over last year. Things took an even darker turn in November, when leasing totaled a mere 482,000 square feet — a staggering 78 percent below the five-year monthly average of 2.16 million square feet.

The pitiably puny numbers broke the record for lowest monthly leasing for the third time this year. “I wouldn’t say it’s free-fall, but it’s a lot worse than just an adjustment,” said a broker who wisely didn’t want to be named.

Under the head of "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt," the article goes on to talk about how one company has helped revitalize a neighborhood or 2 with arts and restaurants. But that is an apples to oranges comparison. And if when the city center implodes, other things will follow.

Cities are not safe. Defund the police, anyone? And now it is clear that like buggy whips, very few people actually need one to get their work done.

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