Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Midtown v. Downtown

In the absence of anything interesting to say today, I’m just going to plug my own story in the Times about how financial firms are gobbling up all the super-premium Class A office space in Midtown. The point towards the end of the piece -- that downtown is not attracting the young, dynamic and fast-growing financial firms because there just isn’t the right kind of commercial office space -- gets to a larger issue about what needs to happen downtown from a commercial real estate perspective. There just doesn’t seem to be much demand for more “cruise ship” style office buildings. Sleeker, smaller, high-tech “boutique” office buildings are attracting the mid-sized and smaller financial firms, and there just aren’t any of them being built downtown. And the fact is, it’s not just the large financial firms that make an office district dynamic. Like any other neighborhood, an office sector needs diversity in order for it to be lively, and that means attracting tenants of all sizes, colors and shapes. The redevelopment of downtown is going to be an amazing thing to watch over the next ten years, and as I said in a previous post, I think it will be driven not by the World Trade Center, but from all the other trends that were underway before Sept. 11, but got kicked into high gear when everyone really got focused on downtown.