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Recovery Raises Questions About Office Near Manhattan Commuter Hubs

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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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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