“The office is not dead, but the office is changing,” said New York City real estate developer Michael Shvo.
Speaking at the Fast Company Innovation Festival yesterday, Shvo said he believes people will continue to want to come to offices to collaborate — and that the high end of the commercial real estate market is thriving.
Before the coronavirus pandemic introduced many office workers to the work-from-home lifestyle, many offices were considered bland, inferior spaces. Now, he said, people want a space that feels as comfortable to spend time in as a home.
In fact, in 2020, his firm purchased the Transamerica Pyramid, the iconic San Francisco office tower. Shvo brought in architect Norman Foster to refresh the space and added amenities such as a fitness center and a tenants-only bar on the top floor.
For an office at 530 Broadway, he brought in the New York firm Snarkitechture to add surrealist design touches to the lobby and three other floors, in hopes that working in a space that could double as an art gallery would lure workers back.
Shvo predicts older buildings and those at the lower end of the market will continue to struggle to find tenants — in part because the layout of many of those buildings makes it hard to convert them to residential buildings. Over the next decade, some of those outdated buildings will likely be demolished to make space for new construction.