Can Upscale Amenities Bring Manhattan Workers Back To The Office?

29 September, 2022 / Bobby Samuels

Upscale amenities are becoming the norm in high-end New York City office space. Whether it’s Legos, slides, fitness centers, or rooftop gardens, many properties look more like college campuses than office buildings nowadays.

Why? Commercial landlords have had to rethink and reinvent traditional office space. They have no choice but differentiate themselves from the competition and satisfy the evolving needs of companies. Over the last few years, top-notch amenities have arrived at once “vanilla” spaces to meet these needs.


Why Have Upscale Amenities Become So Popular in Commercial Spaces?

Many tenants looking for new office space in Manhattan are often baffled at the amount of new lifestyle-based amenities. However, the reason behind the increased popularity of these amenities is relatively simple. As everyone knows, when the pandemic began, there was a massive push for people to work from home. Today, employers look to attract and retain employees and want them back in the office more often than not. With the phenomenon of The Great Resignation, there also remains a low unemployment rate and plentiful jobs market.

Today, employees have more bargaining power than employers. Most employers want their employees back in the office, as evidenced by the statements made by mega-cap companies like Tesla. Unfortunately for employers, employees prefer to work from home. Employers simply do not have the leverage to force their employees back to the office.

Instead, employers resort to upscale amenities to lure workers back to the office. Many companies have found that perks like free food, fitness center access, and other luxuries have been effective tools thus far.


What Amenities Are Landlords Offering Commercial Tenants?

Commercial space in New York City offers an extensive range of amenities. Manhattan office buildings include everything from one-stop-shop shopping centers to arcades and fitness centers.

The bottom line, as mentioned, is that landlords are pulling out all the stops to think outside the box.

Nowadays, it’s relatively common for New York City commercial spaces to have in-building fitness centers, dining facilities, and restaurants built exclusively for their tenants. Manhattan West, for example, has gone as far as building out an upscale shopping center at the base of their office buildings. This space has practically everything you could need. It has a Whole Foods, upscale dining, a soon-to-be direct connection to the High Line, and more.


Which Spaces Are Offering These Amenities?

As mentioned, Manhattan West is an example of how Manhattan commercial real estate has gone all out with amenities to satisfy tenants. However, they’re not the only New York City office building doing so.

Iconic office buildings in Manhattan, like The Chrysler Building and The Empire State Building, offer outstanding amenities.

The Chrysler Building offers tenants designated lounges with game tables and billiards, yoga/meditation rooms, and open pantries. It also features daily lunch service and evening cocktails on the 61st and 62nd floors.

Not to be outdone, The Empire State Building offers tenants a private fitness center and a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It even goes as far as providing “Business Express Lunches” for employees who don’t have time to sit down at a restaurant to enjoy their lunch.

Other New York City office buildings like Zero Irving boast similar amenities that stress tenant quality of life. The building has vast outdoor spaces, a food hall with around a dozen restaurants, and a convenient location.


Could Raising Interest Rates Help Manhattan Commercial Real Estate?

Undeniably, rising interest rates may be the precursor of an economic slowdown. However, this might not necessarily be bad for commercial real estate in Manhattan.

Employees have most of the bargaining power right now. But that might not be the case should the economy slow. A tightening labor market could tip the scales in the other direction and shift bargaining power in favor of employers.

Already, this shift in leverage appears to be happening in the tech space. Many big tech companies like Meta, Alphabet, and Uber have decreased hiring. Others like Twitter, Redfin, and Coinbase have withdrawn job offers. Worse for employee leverage are companies like Netflix, Peloton, Microsoft, and Carvana, which have announced layoffs.

With employers gaining the upper hand, this remote, employee-led labor market era may not last much longer. This shift would naturally bring a largely at-home workforce back to the office. Such a shift would likely cause an increase in demand for Manhattan commercial spaces, despite rising interest rates. From there, it’s simply an issue of supply and demand.

Which Amenities Will Get Your Team Back to the Office?

Figuring out which amenities for your office can be difficult. It largely depends on company demographics and culture.

Even if you have an idea of what amenities you’d like your space to have, finding the perfect office space in New York City with all of your desired amenities can be a daunting task. If you want to find the ideal space with the amenities your workforce desires, working with an experienced broker is critical.

Since 2004, Metro Manhattan Office Space has been a New York City commercial real estate agency specializing in representing business tenants in acquiring and disposing of commercial spaces. Over nearly two decades, the firm has worked with hundreds of clients in helping them find the perfect commercial spaces. If you or your business need a New York City commercial space with particular amenities, contact us at (212)-444-2241 or by email at [email protected].


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