Google’s Big Bet on Manhattan Office Space

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Today is Wednesday. We’ll be looking at one of the biggest office-space deals, not only in New York City but in the United States.

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There was no doubt it was a huge transaction: a $2.1 billion deal for office space in Manhattan. The question was whether it was a sign of a turning point for a city struggling to emerge from the pandemic or whether it was just the latest move by a tech firm determined to increase its footprint in New York.

The deal, announced Tuesday, includes a huge former railroad freight terminal near the Holland Tunnel. The buyer, Google, already has 12,000 corporate employees in New York, but said it planned to hire 2,000 more over the next few years.


This pointed to the growing dependence of York’s economy on the tech sector at a time of decidedly mixed forecasts for the city. How other industries adapt to the combination of remote and in-person work is likely to determine how the office market changes – and how those changes affect the city’s economy.

No other city has quite a ride on the changing workplace as does New York. As my colleagues Matthew Haag and Nicole Hong point out, New York’s economic recovery may depend on commercial real estate, not just the millions of dollars that tenants pay to rent office space. Before the pandemic, office buildings were a magnet for 1.6 million workers every day, from chief executive officers to patrons. The ripple effect of the money they spent on everything from morning coffee to quick lunches to shopping at nearby stores supported thousands of other businesses.

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Companies shifted to remote work in the pandemic as office buildings became empty, those businesses were established. And many of the big cultivators that once kept them running have dwindled.

Major New York employers such as JPMorgan Chase have abandoned thousands of square feet, which contributes to a glut: About 19 percent of Manhattan office space is available for rent, a record high, according to real estate services firm Newmark. Which is almost twice the average rate. last decade.

Even the Empire State Building, a city within a city that was once the epitome of an urban way of working, is facing potential vacancies.

How much space companies will need to adapt to a hybrid work model is one of the major uncertainties facing the office market. “During the pandemic, people assumed a decrease in activity and demand for office space, when in reality it is a much more complicated equation,” said Tom Wright, president of the Regional Planning Association, a research and advocacy group.

One variable in the equation may well be the conference room. Companies will need them if they are scheduling meetings with a few employees attending in person and some videoconferencing from home. Tech companies are probably best equipped to adapt to this kind of system change. Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said several months ago that he planned to spend half of the next year working outside the office.

Still, “we don’t know how remote working is going to play out,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisal form. “In the lockdown, the bond between work and home became infinitely longer, but it was not a complete solution. It just gave more flexibility. “


Be sure to grab your rain jacket. There is a possibility of rain today which may continue for the rest of the week. Expect temperatures in the 70s – high 70s during the day and mid 70s in the evening.

optional side parking

Suspended today (Sukot).

  • Isabdul Karim, held on Rikers Island over a parole violation, was one day short of qualifying for release when Governor Kathy Hochul freed 200 prisoners last week. He died there on Sunday.

  • More than 20 percent of the city’s hotels have been evacuated by the pandemic. Eric Adams wants to turn them into “supportive housing.”

  • Barnard College student Tessa Majors was stabbed to death in 2019. One of his killers confessed his crime on Tuesday.

A man walks into a bar where he is a regular and books a how-to about cocktails to the bartender.

This is not the beginning of a joke. It’s about a coal-to-Newcastle moment from 35 years ago.

The man wrote a dedication to the book: “To the Best Bartender in NY” In the back, he drew some jagged drawings in pencil. The bartender wrapped the book in aluminum foil—”If it’s good for sandwiches, it’s good for artwork,” said the bartender—and put it away.

It might have been forgotten that the person who slid the book in the bar was not Jean-Michel Basquiat.

But anyone who had heard about it years ago mentioned art consultant and dealer Janice Gardner Cecil. He persuaded the bartender, Randy Burns, to show him Basquiat drawings for the first time. online exhibition.

Burns appears as a guitarist and vocalist under the name Randy Gunn. The online exhibit includes photographs of his performances in the 1970s and 1980s, taken by Bobby Grossman when he lived at the Chelsea Hotel on West 23rd Street and Grossman was the photographer for the Cult public-access cable show “TV Party” . Burns played in the band in the episode when the featured artist was Debbie Harry. Incidentally, Basquiat sold his first painting to her in 1981.

Burns started out as a bartender Great Jones Cafe A few years later, shortly after it opened. He recognized Basquiat from the view of the city and realized that Basquiat lived across the street. The bar opened at 4 p.m., but Burns began his workday at 3 p.m., setting up the night.

That was when Basquiat took his place at the bar and ordered a margarita.

“He was the only person I let in,” Burns said. “The door was locked. I let him in because I knew he wasn’t going to ask ‘how do you make it’ or ‘what do you put in it.'” It was the mystic sweet banter of a quiet bar.

A day after being away for a while, Basquiat turned the book over to the bar. “They didn’t say ‘check it out’ or ‘I did this for you,'” Burns said. “After they left, I looked back and saw there were pictures.”

the book was “Harry’s ABCs of Mixing Cocktails,” An updated version of a classic by the longtime owner of Harry’s Bar in Paris. York Public Library has a copy. So do at least three university library systems.

They don’t have what Burns’ copy has – the Basquiats. On a page that was blank except for the title “Focus on your favorite cocktail”, a picture was formed around the word “eroica” in the form of a Beethoven symphony. Burns felt that Basquiat simply misspelled the word “erotica”.

Burns, now 66, said he was offered $5,000 for the book after Basquiat’s death in 1988. “At the time, that was a lot of money.” But he said no. One of his acquaintances told him: “Your retirement is in a bundle right there.”

“Whatever age I was then,” he said, “I wasn’t thinking about retirement. I was just hoping I could live the next day.”

  • New York magazine interviewed five residents What they lost in Hurricane Ida in East Elmhurst.

  • A child died in a hospital in New York. Then came the $257,000 bill.

  • Bushwick Star needed a new location. So they moved to a former dairy plant, Three L stayed.

Metropolitan Diary

Dear Diary:

My college roommate grew up in the suburbs of Massachusetts and moved to Texas shortly after. Years later, he came to visit me in New York for a week’s stay.

I picked her up at the airport in Newark, and as we went back to our apartment and caught up with each other’s lives, we talked about what we would do during her stay and where we would go.

It quickly became apparent that the idea of ​​relying on mass transit and running for day-to-day tasks and activities was new to him.

As we walked into the garage of my building, he asked if he should leave his jacket in the car for later.

“You don’t understand,” I said. “We don’t see the car again until you get back to the airport.”

Brian Jaffe

Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Read more Metropolitan Diary here.

Glad we could be here together. see you tomorrow. – jb

ps today is mini crossword And spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.

Jeffrey Ferticella, Melissa Guerrero, Rick Martinez and Olivia Parker contributed to New York TODAY. you can reach the team [email protected].

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