CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – As business in Charlotte continues to boom, some companies look to downsize.
Since March 2020, Corporate America has been forced to send workers home to work remotely. Since then, the office market has not fully recovered.
What was once considered the most significant job announcement in Charlotte’s history was vaporized in August.
Centene Corporation halted construction on its nearly finished east coast headquarters, citing a shift in the workforce. The company said 90% of its employees are now working remotely or on a hybrid schedule.
“We have to see how soft this office market is going to be and deal with the current economic climate and people’s expected work protocols,” Greg Phipps said.
Centene is one of several examples of companies either downsizing their physical footprint or leaving their offices behind altogether.
“One of the big drivers right now for people is flexibility,” said the founder of Regent Commercial Real Estate, Brian Smith. “So companies are still trying to figure out what to do with the excess office space they have, whether they want to sublease, downsize, renew, not to renew.”
Smith says as the Charlotte office market is at an influx, other parts of the region are seeing the opposite. High demand for goods has forced the industrial industry to expand.
Colquimica Adhesives is an example. The Portugal-based company opened a new facility near the Charlotte Douglas International Airport to increase production by 20 percent.
“So, as you look around the perimeter of Charlotte, where there is available land, that’s where the industrial tends to be developed,” Smith said.
“For us, it’s really about understanding what the company needs specifically and how we can help meet that need to help make it work here in market,” said Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Managing Director of Business Recruitment, Jeremiah Andersons.
He says upwards of 130 new investment opportunities are in the pipeline, and about 20% involve an office space component.
“We are pushing ahead and honestly really just trying to be more flexible about, and what we recruit into some of these office space, so they are not just sitting unused for the moment or for long at least,” Andersons said. “We are largely getting a better feel for kind of what their office footprint looks like and are feeling more comfortable about bringing workers back into the office.”
Smith says an upside of a softened office market in Uptown is that smaller businesses have more opportunities to move in and fill in the gaps.
“So, from an existing landlord spot, it’s not a good spot to be in,” Smith said. “But, from a new to the market company, there is a lot of opportunity.”