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Metro-North's Next Stop: Flat Growth

New York
Metro-North's Next Stop: Flat Growth
FirstService Williams' Gerard Hallock
How are our neighbors in Westchester and Fairfield counties doing? We hopped up to FirstService Williams’ Stamford office to meet Gerard Hallock (above), Tim Rorick, and Andrew Carney, who report flat growth in both office markets. Westchester is seeing a good amount of activity, although it’s mostly firms rightsizing or downsizing, Andrew says. Of the more than 530 deals last year, the average was 5k SF, when historically, it was 6-7k SF, Gerard adds; there’s a flight to quality, and the 25% sublease availability isn’t helping the direct lease market. But keep your eyes peeled: The firm is about to sign a large agency deal in Westchester.
FirstService Williams' Tim Rorick and Andrew Carney
We’re also seeing relocations in Fairfield, but in short-term leases. Tenants don’t want to build out space, and save money by moving into furniture-ready space, Tim (left, with Andrew) says. Take Southpaw Asset Management, which rented 9.3k SF of a former hedge fund’s space in Greenwich for almost as-is. Many landlords are also still offering concessions, mostly in free-rent, he adds. The effect:no absorption. Overall, leasing velocity has gone down and unemployment up, and there’s been no efforts to temper the latter. The brightest spot right now is Stamford, which has snatched deals from Norwalk, Hartford, and White Plains. However, we can expect future growth from the healthcare and financial industries.