June 16, 2020
With questions now being raised about whether office-using employees will commute to those offices or work remotely when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, Colliers International sought to gauge the implications for the Manhattan office market.
While cautioning that “no one knows for sure what all of the changes will be once this pandemic passes,” the report from a Colliers team led by senior managing director Franklin Wallach notes that beliefs about permanent impacts of challenging events “have often been exaggerated.”
Even so, there are implications for owners of office properties within a 10-minute walk of Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal or the Port Authority Bus terminal. For one thing, just 11% of the office inventory near these commuter hubs dates from 2000 or later, while 80% is pre-war or postwar product, Colliers reports.
For another thing, the 664,000 commuters from the suburbs represent the smallest share of Manhattan’s workforce at 26%. That being said, 51% of these commuters work in offices, compared to just 38% of New York City residents.
“Even during the shutdown caused by the pandemic, the Manhattan office market performed, albeit at a decreased velocity compared to 2019,” the report states. “And there is hope that leasing volume will pick up in the coming months as Manhattan continues to reemerge from the shutdown.”
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