The pandemic changed work habits: most of the companies had to emigrate to the home office, which caused office vacancies at all levels.
In offices A (11 to 20 years old) and A Plus (maximum 10 years old), which together represent 61.7 percent of the city’s rental market, unemployment reached 23.68 percent last June.
This after the unused square meters increased 7.46 percent from June 2020 to June 2021, according to figures from the Association of Real Estate Developers (ADI).
In the B offices (21 to 25 years old), which represent 33.18 percent of the market, unemployment reached 19.08 percent last June, that is, a growth of 4.84 percent compared to June 2020.
By areas of the city, some of the most affected in the A and A Plus branch are Azcapotzalco, Lomas Altas (Lomas de Reforma and Real de las Lomas), Periférico Sur, Santa Fe, Insurgentes and Reforma Centro, in that order , is clear from the statistics prepared by Softec, a real estate consulting company whose managing partner is Gene Towle.
In Azcapotzalco, in the first four months of 2020, when the pandemic was just beginning, the vacancy level of A and A Plus offices was 24 percent, but for the first four months of this year it reached 46.6 percent; an increase of 22.4 percent.
With a similar growth is the Lomas Altas corridor: it went from 21.7 to 43.8 percent; an increase of 22.1 percent.
In the third place due to the increase in the loss of office tenants is the Periférico Sur corridor, which went from 5.5 to 12.2 percent of unemployment, that is, it grew 6.7 percent.
In the Santa Fe corridor, unemployment in the first quarter of 2020 was 19.9 percent and for the same period in 2021 it was already 26.3 percent, an increase of 6.4 percent.
In the Insurgentes corridor, vacant offices went from 12.5 percent to 18.6 percent, an increase of 6.1 percent.
While the Reforma Centro corridor went from 9.1 to 15 percent of unoccupied square meters, an increase of 5.9 percent.
You work from a cafeteria
“From 2020 to 2023 we are seeing a reconfiguration of the spaces: before the center of the company was the headquarters and everything was linked to it, but we are moving to a scheme where companies create a work network: in the office You can have a training meeting, the company’s 30-year anniversary event, but part of the work you do at home, another part in centers like we work and sometimes you work from a cafeteria “, said Gene Towle in an interview with Excelsior.
The office will become more of a meeting space “and less to heat the seat, because there are many companies that right now are telling their employees’ get revenge, the pandemic is over ‘, and the employees say’ how for what If I’ve been working from home for a year and a half and has it worked? ‘
“I believe that we have broken the paradigm that you do not have to be in a place to be productive,” said the director of Softec.
Understand the new market
The adaptation process is not being easy for anyone, as the architect José Luis Castelán, who rents offices in Polanco, Lomas and Santa Fe, told this newspaper.
“Last year 10 percent of those who rented rescinded the contract, others stopped paying and we are in legal disputes, but the vast majority paid half of the rent by mutual agreement,” he reveals.
Castelán, who is president of Urban Development and Housing at Coparmex Mexico City, pointed out that this 2021 the situation is even more complex than last year, since those who hire him offices “stopped hiring between 30 and 40 percent of the area they originally rented ”.
He confirmed that within his business the greatest impact “has been felt in corporate brokers such as Reforma and Santa Fe. Most of them are foreign companies, these contracts are usually long-term, while contracts with local companies tend to have more turnover.”
He explained that the office market “is under a very complicated handbrake: the pandemic has left many profitable spaces and a rearrangement of them is beginning. I think it will take a couple of years to understand what our new market of opportunity will be and what are the new ideologies of the corporations ”.
Of the 11 office corridors that Softec analyzes, only in Interlomas there was an increase in rented space: in the first four months of 2020 it had 43.2 percent unoccupied, and for the first four months of this year it was reduced to 39.6 percent. percent, that is, 3.6 percent more was rented.
“I see it as the revenge of the periphery and that many people rented in spaces outside the traditional areas in this time of pandemic,” said Towle.