What a difference a year makes. Last January, we had no inkling of the peril we were about to face.
North Texas was riding high after the brisk relocation and expansion activity of the previous year, and we had every reason to think it would continue. We never dreamed that just a few weeks later; we’d be quarantining in our homes and figuring out how to work remotely.
As of this writing, coronavirus cases continue to spike, and most of us at D are still working from home. But the promise of the vaccine and the stability it will bring is real. Once again, Dallas-Fort Worth is poised to rebound from hardship faster than other markets.
Based on recent conversations I’ve had with economic development and real estate execs, corporate relocation activity has already begun picking up—big time. I had one such discussion today with my old boss, Ran Holman. He was sharing the news that he had left Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate shop where I once worked, to take the helm of Texas operations for Newmark.
I asked him about his outlook for the local office market, and he made a thought-provoking point: “Never in our careers have we been able to unravel the workforce from the workplace,” he said. “It’s not the physical office that we miss; it’s the people. We have never been able to look at those things independently because they’ve always been intertwined.”
In the past year, we’ve learned that it’s not the physical space that’s important to us—it’s the bonds we’ve created with colleagues. That need for a physical human connection will be instrumental in the restabilization of our office market—something Ran thinks will start slowly but quickly build momentum by midyear 2021.
“Most of us are in offices because we need to collaborate and be a part of something,” Ran said. “The longer people stay remote, the more risk there is of losing cultural adhesion. There may be some changes in the way we use space, but the office market isn’t going away. ”