Although the pandemic’s impact on the future of work and the office sector is still unclear, one thing that is guaranteed is the increase of remote working arrangements.
Remote working is expected to be a challenge for urban centers, but Los Angeles’ Downtown Center Business Improvement District (DCBID) says this shift could present new opportunities for the area.
“Let’s say a combination of telecommuting, flextime, and other factors reduces current office space use by 10-20%, on top of an already stubbornly high vacancy rate,” said Nick Griffin, executive director at the DCBID. “Based on existing assumptions, that’s a huge hit for current property owners, but it does open up opportunities for reimagining, reconfiguring, and repositioning those properties.”
Griffin added that moving to a more distributed workforce could accelerate the downtown residential population, particularly if buildings are repurposed for both office and residential uses.
After 9/11, New York City saw a huge expansion of its residential population as offices were repositioned. Then, as retail and dining made a comeback in certain areas, so did the office market. That is the trend that Griffin hopes to see in Downtown Los Angeles, as well as other areas of the country.