Fewer than 10 per cent of New York City's office employees have returned to public workplaces, jeopardizing the city's financial health as office buildings account for almost 10 per cent of total annual revenue.
When the first COVID-19 cases was reported in New York City on March 1, the bustling city soon quieted when the economy screeched a standstill as cases skyrocketed and deaths quickly followed.
The loss in revenue, officials said, would be detrimental to the city's finances and cause a ruinous fallout.
'That’s revenue that’s gone that pays for cops, firefighters, teachers, sanitation workers, it’s gone. And there’s no way I’m going to get it back,' said Mayor Bill de Blasio said in May when he revealed the city could need $7.5billion in federal aid.
A report from Partnership for New York City found that just eight per cent of New York City's office workers have returned to public workplaces as of August
Optimists hoped that the city's one million office workers would return to skyscrapers as the pandemic progressed, but reports show that is simply not the case.
The 'Return to Office Survey' released by Partnership for New York City found that just eight per cent of staffers have returned to the office as of mid-August.
Employers have lowered their expectations since May by 33 per cent, with only 26 per cent of surveyed employees scheduled to return by the year's end.
That number jumps just over half - or 54 per cent - for a July 2021 return date.
Of the major employers surveyed, a quarter of them said they 'don’t yet know their plans for returning employees to the office,' underscoring the uncertainty surrounding new office culture in pandemic.
The demand for office spaces plummeted in tandem with lockdown orders and forced employers to adjust with remote working models.
That's left New York City's reputation as a global business hub and corporate haven in limbo.
The demand for office spaces have plummeted, stoking fears of financial downfall since office buildings account for almost 10 per cent of the city's total annual tax revenue.
Experts have said that companies have postponed their search for new office spaces and some are waiting for landlords to lower rent prices
There is more square feet of work space in the Big Apple than in both London and San Francisco, Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate brokerage firm, told The New York Times.
Office work is vital to New York's economy and, in fact, property taxes from office buildings make up almost 10 per cent of the city's total annual tax revenue.
Perhaps most concerning is that recovery from the pandemic could take longer that the September 11 attacks and the financial crisis of 2008.
Much of that relies on companies, who've had to reevaluate their real estate needs and account for new operating models.
Robert Ivanhoe, a real estate lawyer at Greenberg Traurig, told the publication that around 20 clients had paused their searches for new office spaces.
'They are putting a lot of thought into coming up with a new operating model — how much of my work force is going to work from home and for how much time?' said Ivanhoe.
'It has never been turned upside down like this before.'
Office leases signed from January through last month amassed to 13.7million square feet, but that's less than half as much compared to the first eight months of 2019, reports Colliers International, a real estate brokerage firm.
Leasing reached a 18-year high at