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Manhattan Office Availability at Record Levels, Feb Rate Hits 17.4%

The list of companies paring their leases back in New York is long, and it seems that hybrid remote staffing models are becoming more and more popular, obviating the need for office square footage to return to pre-COVID levels.  

Manhattan office market leasing is growing slowly, but is still a far 35% shy of pre-COVID levels. The problem is that companies are shedding office space a lot faster. Sublet availability jumped by 1.2 million-sf last month, helping drive Manhattan’s overall availability rate in February to a record 17.4%, according to Colliers. 

Leasing levels are 74.1% lower now than in March 2020 when the pandemic began. Total available office space in Manhattan now stands at 94 million-sf.

It is in this environment that some investors appear to be hunting for bargains. Manhattan trophy office specialist Paramount Group last week got an unsolicited offer of $12 a share for all its shares from Alternative Monarch. It’s the second unsolicited bid for Paramount, whose shares have fallen more than 30% post COVID.  

Two years ago hedge fund Bow Street made an unsolicited bid for Paramount, offering $9.50 to $10 a share, which Paramount’s board rejected. Paramount Group closed the week at $10.80.  

Meredith, a major news and magazine publisher whose editorial staffing is well suited to remote models of work, has shaved 323,000-sf off its space requirements in Manhattan.

JP Morgan Chase has cut 400,000-sf, or 4% of its total Manhattan office space. Bank of New York has cut back 10%, Voya Financial 13% and Wells Fargo 15%. 


Inside The Story

Paramount GroupColliers

About Ted Jackson

A highly successful financial journalist, corporate financial writer and magazine entrepreneur with strong expertise in writing on fixed income and pass-through securities (ABS), finance and banking, the economy, economic developments, financial markets, investing and personal finance, the business of behavioral healthcare and more.

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