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As Big Companies Delay Their Return To NYC, Focus Switches To Luring Small Operators

Bisnow's podcast, Make Yourself At Home, hears from members of the commercial real estate industry about how they are managing this new reality and gaining insight into their day-to-day approaches. You can subscribe on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music.

Jessica Walker

On this episode, we hear from Manhattan Chamber of Commerce President Jessica Walker on the chamber’s effort to support small businesses and encourage midsized companies to return to New York City.

After a year of remote work, very few of the major employers have brought their workforces back, which is causing a complex array of issues for the economies of cities like New York.

“What we are seeing is large companies are coming back very slowly. Much of their workforce, they need time to plan,” Walker said on the podcast. "Many of the tech companies, for example, have told their employees they don’t have to think about coming back until September, if not 2022."

Now, the chambers of commerce for the five boroughs are partnering with WeWork to market the coworking company’s discounts for smaller and midsized firms. The idea is that smaller firms are more flexible than the major financial, law and technology firms, and more likely to return sooner rather than later. 

“Small and midsized business can be more nimble with their workforce," she said. "We are still 25% below the foot traffic that we were at before the pandemic began. That does show that we have a lot of remote workers and people who have left the city, but I do think we are at that point where people are starting to think about coming back.”