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Savills Closes, Reopens NYC Office After Coronavirus Scare

399 Park Ave.

Brokerage Savills temporarily closed its office in New York City Thursday as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus.

After attending an “off-site” conference, a New York employee at the firm was told that another attendee at that event may have previously been exposed to the coronavirus, Savills confirmed. The office, which is at 399 Park Ave., reopened Friday. 

“While the risk may be low, that employee is now in self-quarantine for safe measure,” a representative for Savills said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, we temporarily closed our New York City office for cleaning and instructed all local employees to work remotely if possible. After consulting with local health officials and thoroughly sanitizing our entire space, our office is now fully reopened.”

Meanwhile, The Gap closed its office in the city, Bloomberg reported, after an employee was found to have the virus. The retailer, which is headquartered in San Francisco, has space at 55 Water St. in Lower Manhattan.

“We are taking extreme precaution and have decided to close the 55 Thomas building and employees should work from home until further notice,” the Gap said in the email to its employees, per Bloomberg.

There have been at least 33 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, recorded in New York State so far, with most of them in Westchester County. Two of those people diagnosed are in intensive care, per NBC. Globally, the number of infections has passed 100,000.

“This is not a drill,” World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, according to The New York Times. “This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops.”

The virus has rattled the stock markets, shut down conventions, disrupted supply chains and is expected to cost airlines billions because of reduced travel worldwide. This month, the MIPIM conference in Cannes, France, which organizers had expected to attract as many as 27,000 attendees from around the world, was postponed until June.

While workplaces grapple with how to adequately prepare workers and protect against the virus, developers are bracing for the impact of possible delays in accessing materials from China. Meanwhile, many real estate players are concerned that quarantine and travel restrictions could slow down deal flow, as Bisnow reported earlier this week