WestPark: From Downtown to Outta Town: Business Reconsiders the ‘Burbs

With the advent of Covid-19, it’s no secret that major companies are concerned with employee health and wellness and consequently rethinking their desire to operate entirely in large cities.

Now, the leafy allure of walking trails just steps from the office, plus the ease of getting to and from work, having super-speed fiber networks to connect colleagues, and the camaraderie that comes from airy and spacious meeting and work spaces, make suburban markets like Westchester County, hot again.

Density has become the enemy of health in the COVID-era, so fresh air, natural light, and greenspace are on everyone’s check list. Essentially, the coronavirus has accelerated the urban-to-suburban migration.

“Even prior to Covid-19, we had been seeing an uptick in major companies rethinking their desire to headquarter in large cities,” notes Jacqueline Novotny, First Vice president of CBRE, a major US commercial real estate leasing and investment company. “And this echoes the flight of the millennials, more of whom are buying or renting homes in the suburbs and exurbs.”  

CBRE reports indicate that 9 of the 10 largest office markets in the U.S. recorded increases in vacancy rates during the first quarter 2020 (ending April 1). “Downtown vacancy rates increased by 30 basis points, while suburban vacancy rates were up just 10 basis points, according to our research,” Novotny said. 

Companies Follow the Talent.

An Ernst & Young survey in 2018 found the share of millennials purchasing suburban homes increased by 14% over two years. “That generation prizes the natural environment; they like hiking and biking, fresh air and space. That also redounds to how and where they want to work. Technology is critically important, but so are spacious, airy, healthy office buildings,” Novotny  points out.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates documenting the annual population change through July 2019, show that growth for large metro areas and urban cores was heavily front-loaded from the beginning of the decade, but growth has diminished in recent years.

Now, the uncertainty of using mass transportation, dealing with the delays in elevator usage and common area concerns s in the city’s massive multi-story skyscrapers, and having to cope with less than ideal office work spaces in New York City, the race to consider the subburbs againhas begun.    

Looks like WestPark is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of our times.

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