NYC Construction Sluggish, Long-Term Outlook Looks Stronger


Manhattan should expect to see 2.1 million square feet in new office space under construction in 2012 with the arrival of 6 new buildings slated this year, the New York Building Congress announced Wednesday.

The 2012 numbers are a slight bump up from 2011, when the city added 1.8 million square feet in 7 buildings. But those numbers should dip in 2013, when the NYBC predicts 1.7 million square feet of space to be added to the market.

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international gem tower 400x281 NYC Construction Sluggish, Long Term Outlook Looks Stronger
The International Gem Tower (photo courtesy of Extell Development)

The city will also experience the third straight decade in which fewer than 20 million square feet of office space was added to the central business district’s inventory.

Despite the dire prognostication for 2013, NYBC President Richard Anderson said his organization is encouraged by the recent numbers.

“We think the city is poised for a strong resurgence in the office market,” Mr. Anderson told The Commercial Observer. “It’s not just happening very quickly because jobs that take space in office buildings are not growing as fast as other jobs, and other organizations are using less space per employee than ever before,” he added.

The city has seen 36,000 office jobs added since January 2012, and looks to be on pace to surpass the total of 38,000 office jobs that were added in 2011, according to the report.

Despite the job growth, the city has been slow to add square footage. From 2000 to 2009, the city added 19 million square feet in 21 new buildings throughout Manhattan. In the 1980s, the city averaged nearly 5 million new square feet added to the market per year.

“There really is a lot to be confident about. But at the same time, we are not getting the 4-to-5 million square feet a year on average as we have in the past decades,” said Mr. Anderson.

But don’t fret, Mr. Anderson said. There is a lot to be happy about in the city, construction-wise.

“People who got their shovels in the ground, such as the World Trade Center and Boston Properties and [Extell Development’s] International Gem Tower, I think they are going to be rewarded very handsomely,” he concluded.