By: John Shumway
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The impact of COVID is being felt in a lot of areas, not the least of which is the workplace.
Fewer people are going to their offices and it’s causing an explosion of available space.
With less people in places like Downtown Pittsburgh, more retail businesses are closing their doors and the number of ‘space for rent’ or ‘space available’ signs are showing up everywhere.
McKenzie and CBRE did a survey and found that companies say 70% of their workforce can work remotely for the foreseeable future.
“Well, on the retail front there certainly is,” says CBRE’s Herky Pollock. “We’re going through, is obviously, a correction due to COVID, and I think that that’s going to occur until we get back to work, until we find a cure, or certainly have a vaccine for COVID.”
What does a ‘correction’ mean?
Pollock says, “The economy was going well, retail was going great, Pittsburgh was on fire. And now we’re seeing restaurants entertainment venues and alike, struggling to survive right now. We’ve had a couple hundred closures so far that aren’t going to reopen, and that’s going to be impactful going forward after we come out of this.”
Outside of downtown, Pollock says the East End, Lawrenceville, and Shadyside have been the hardest hit.
The result Pollock says is that deals that seemed like a sure thing are not making it. “I would say about 40 to 50% of the deals that were out there that were on the goal line are in the red zone, pre-COVID. I need a gone by the wayside or gone on hold.”
But he adds he has clients who are actively looking at the newly available space and adds, “I think we’re going to see people who are looking for opportunities to come in and take advantage of great locations, and perhaps better deals, then those locations had deals weren’t available just four or five months ago.”
Pollock believes the business office space landscape has changed for good while some companies will find the need for less space as more workers continue to work from home.
But on the other side of the equation, those still wanting office space will need more as they space out employees for social distancing for COVID and the future.
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