According to a recent New York Times analysis, office landlords are going through a rough patch. Newmark data quoted by the Times shows that 18.7% of all office space in Manhattan is currently available for lease – the highest availability on record. The availability rate has jumped from 15% at the end of 2020 and is now more than double what it was pre-pandemic.
With so much office space unoccupied, New York City has become a veritable tenant’s market. Landlords are more open to concessions and rent reductions than ever, causing a shift in leasing trends across Manhattan. Many startups and smaller tenants that used to be priced out of certain buildings or neighborhoods now have a chance to snag their dream, Class A office space. This window of opportunity might not stay open for long, however, as employees are slowly starting to return to the office.
Regardless of whether you’re a startup looking for your first office, a mid-size business looking to expand, or a large corporation planning to relocate or downsize, the search for office space in NYC remains a daunting mission. There is still a high level of uncertainty regarding the evolution of the pandemic and the new remote/hybrid work trends, so companies might be reluctant to sign long-term leases. At the same time, the opportunity to snag a Class A, well-located space in a prestigious neighborhood does not happen very often, and you should try to capitalize on that.
Here Are 6 Overlooked Factors to Consider When Renting NYC Office Space in 2021
We’re trying to make the process easier for business owners and entrepreneurs by rounding up six factors you don’t want to overlook in your search for office space. Attracting and retaining top talent is a challenge in 2021 and beyond, as employees now have the upper hand and the possibility to move to a more flexible, remote-oriented company. You’ll want to factor in the post-pandemic needs of your tenants when leasing your next office space, as this could even make or break the success of your company.
1. Walkability and proximity to public parks
If 2021 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to prioritize our physical and mental health and aim to achieve that elusive work-life balance. People would rather work from home and avoid long commutes than come into a busy, crowded, artificially lit office. Employees are now looking for access to green, open spaces where they can take breaks and enjoy fresh air and sunlight. Companies that offer proximity to public parks or green areas where employees can go for a stroll, a run, or lunch will be at an advantage in 2021 and beyond.
2. Access to fitness or wellness centers
Health has become the top priority for people worldwide, and last year’s lockdowns have led people to find innovative ways to keep fit. Many people have taken this time to embrace fitness and new active hobbies, and they’ll want to maintain them even as they return to the office. Therefore, companies that offer access to in-building gyms or proximity to fitness centers, yoga or pilates studios, spas, or wellness centers will have a better chance at attracting young talent.
3. Parking and bicycle storage
In the past decade, a transit-oriented location was constantly at the top of the priority list for office tenants in NYC. Buildings that offered proximity and access to NYC’s public transportation system had a clear advantage. Nowadays, people are reluctant to rely exclusively on public transportation, and for a good reason. Many of them prefer to drive, bike, or walk to work, and their employers need to take that into account. Buildings that offer parking spaces, bicycle storage, and even e-bike and electric car charging stations will appeal to tenants and employees alike.
4. A future-proof location
It’s not enough to look at the current makeup of a neighborhood when looking to lease office space in Manhattan. The city is constantly changing, new developments are taking shape, and entire blocks or neighborhoods can completely transform in just a few years. Companies looking for long-term office space and who don’t want to move around too often will have to look at what that area might look like in a few years. Are there any new developments in the pipeline or proposed? Are companies moving into the neighborhood? What type of tenants are there nearby? What are the office rent trends? As a business owner, you need to look at a future-proof community that is likely to keep evolving; you will also be able to use this factor as an incentive to attract top talent.
A factor that is often overlooked in the search for office space is connectivity. In 2021, tenants can no longer ignore this factor; instead, it should be at the top of the priority list. With many employees and clients now working remotely, high-speed internet connectivity and audio/video conferencing technology are essential, regardless of the industry. Investigate this issue before signing an office lease; check to see if the building offers everything you need in terms of connectivity, as you don’t want to worry about this later. Check if the building is already fitted with a fiber-optic connection, as this will be an expensive upgrade to add later on.
6. Company culture
Last but not least, you should always make sure that the neighborhood and the building you’re looking into are a good fit for your work style and company culture. If you’re running a startup and your staff consists of mostly young, tech-savvy talent, you’ll want to look for office space in Chelsea, Soho, Flatiron, or Union Square. Your employees will likely feel more at ease in these hip, young neighborhoods than in the Financial District or City Hall areas, for instance, which are traditionally home to large corporations and financial institutions. If your run a business in the healthcare industry or a small legal practice, you’ll feel more at home on the Upper West Side or in Gramercy Park.
Are you thinking of setting up your business in a convenient location in Manhattan, and are looking to lease space in a modern building offering state-of-the-art amenities? Then reach out to us and we will show you worthwhile space situated right in the heart of New York City. To learn about available office space, call Metro Manhattan Office Space at (212) 444-2241 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.