Nearly 80% of Lower Manhattan Office Space Back Online


The pace at which Lower Manhattan buildings are coming back online is a pleasant surprise, even for those tracking the progress day by day.

A total 19 buildings have reopened since The Commercial Observer last reported on Lower Manhattan’s progress 12 days ago.

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And as of yesterday, just 25 of 183 Class A and Class B building stock remained closed in Lower Manhattan, compared with 44 on Nov. 7, according to the latest data from Jones Lang LaSalle.

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One New York Plaza came back online over the weekend

That means just under 80 percent of the total 101,175,754 square feet of inventory is now open for business.

“I’m surprised in a good way,” said John Wheeler, a managing director with JLL, who told The Commercial Observer almost two weeks ago that he expected the pace to pick up.  “What was a hopeful expectation is being realized.”

“We’ve had some buildings come back online that it seemed would have the most significant damage,” he added, referring specifically to One New York Plaza as a “very significant” example of the success.

Wheeler and others remains optimistic that the pace will continue, if not accelerate, as the city works closely with owners to get things running smoothly again.

“I see good coordination between the city and the owners,” he said.

Elizabeth Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance, which is offering grants of up to $20,000 to small businesses affected by Sandy, agreed.

“You have a lot of very competent and knowledgeable owners who care very much about their tenants, and who are doing everything they can to assess whatever damage they suffered and get things back to normal,” she said.  “We expect a majority of those that remain closed to open in the next several weeks, and that’s what the data is showing.”

As with the all the reports from the firm, buildings that are only allowing tenants to enter on an emergency basis are counted among the closed.