Change For the Better
Countless articles about Americans packing up and moving to other countries have been written. I know a handful of people who have made the jump and randomly ended up talking to one on the streets of Mexico City. I was with two friends, and we were all fascinated with this charming man with his kid and dog.
I still remember that feeling of awe when I landed in Europe for the first time. I was on a semester abroad, living in London, my first time in a foreign land. The lifestyle struck me as a good one. The mix of family, friends, work, culture, and life seamlessly blended into a way to live your best life. The French are so committed to that life that another two years of living it is upsetting to many, but that is for another time.
During Covid, we all stopped going to work. Zoom became a way of life as we all realized this would not end quickly. Most of us realized that we needed to blend our lives with our work lives in healthier ways. I would be curious to see what the culture in American companies abroad is like. More than likely, they have conformed to European culture.
It made me laugh when SVB noted that people not returning to work could be one of the problems. Seriously? My friend happened to be at Rockefeller Center for a meeting and mistakenly got off on the wrong floor. She quickly realized that the offices were basically empty. Fascinated, she got off on a few other floors to look around. Crickets.
Nobody is talking about this. Commercial real estate is not exactly plummeting in rent. People have created new office hours while still getting the job done. At least Vernado decided not to build more commercial real estate at Penn Station.
Change in the workplace has happened, and it is not going back. The big question is when does all of this catch up on both sides of the coin so that we can get the price of real estate connected to the reality of the demand? New York will be better off when that happens.
The city needs a correction in commercial and residential real estate pricing. The ripple effect is long overdue.