The Pandemic is Changing How Companies Are Using Office Space

There’s currently about 1.8 million square feet of office space available for lease in Tampa and St. Petersburg’s downtowns combined. Tampa’s office market has shown continued strength, while St. Petersburg’s space available for-lease has increased since the pandemic began. Alford emphasized that generally, Tampa Bay’s metrics are outperforming national averages, especially when it comes to retail.

Feldman Equities owns several high-rise office buildings in both downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg. Mack Feldman, a company vice president, said while a few tenants in the tourism or marketing sectors put up space to sublet, in general, the company has been surprised with how stable business has been. August was the firm’s strongest month for new leases, which Feldman partially attributes to pent-up demand.

At the beginning of the pandemic, “we were joking it would be April Fool’s Day and no one would send rent on the 1st of (April),” he said. “We had surprisingly strong rental collections and it’s really been slow, steady improvement since then.”

Feldman added that Tampa Bay’s office markets have been among the most densely packed in the country for years. So while the pandemic doesn’t seem to be causing companies to abandon their office space, it is changing how they use it, by having more generalized work stations that any employee can use, rather than permanent desks.

Coronavirus pandemic clouds future for Tampa Bay’s downtowns

Even with the commute from her home in Dunedin, Vanessa Huber, a paralegal, loved working in downtown Tampa. Pre-pandemic, she and her boyfriend worked in the same skyscraper at 201 N Franklin St.

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