“Enact a vacancy tax on retail, office and residential property.”
New York City’s government and real-estate industry have a common purpose: to keep real-estate prices high. City Hall wants tax dollars. The industry needs high prices to avoid defaulting on debt. But what Gotham needs right now may be the opposite: lower prices.
As offices reopen, the industry is putting on a brave face. “We felt it was really important, as the largest office landlord in the world, that we demonstrate leadership in returning to the office,” Brookfield CEO Brian Kingston told The Wall Street Journal. About a quarter of Brookfield workers will return this week. The chief of the company that owns the Empire State Building, Tony Malkin, recently said: “We believe in work from work.”
They’re right, to some extent. White-collar workers aren’t going to work from their bedrooms forever. But nor is there any indication they’ll be back to work in Manhattan five days a week. People working two days a week, or three, in a central office will require less space, overall. Two people, on different days, can share a (sanitized) desk meant for one.
Sure, each person will require more space, to stay apart from co-workers. But this extra-space requirement makes the space less valuable, as the space doesn’t generate as much revenue.
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