Lower Manhattan Real Estate Year In Review 2020

02/22/2021
Lower Manhattan Real Estate Year In Review 2020

The Alliance for Downtown New York’s annual year-in-review report provides data on commercial office, retail, residential, hospitality and development projects happening in 2020. Major findings include:  

Commercial Leasing Was Down In 2020 

2020 was a historically weak year with 2.25 million sq. ft. of new commercial office leasing activity — down nearly 70% from 2019 levels and lower than leasing levels seen following the 2008/2009 global financial crisis. Office vacancies, compounded by a sharp rise in sublet spaces, hit a 20-year high. Only 10% of office-occupying workers in Manhattan returned to their desks as of year’s end, with the majority primarily opting to continue working remotely. 


Retail Downtown Saw Notable Closures, Outdoor Dining Innovation 

Over 160 retail businesses, or 12% of the total, permanently closed, ranging from institutional department stores and buzzing restaurants to a litany of small businesses like nail salons, dry cleaners and coffee shops. Approximately 140 eateries began offering outdoor dining. 


Lower Manhattan’s Hospitality Sector Hit Hard 

Three hotels permanently closed, while others are continually evaluating their operating status and available inventory. 

Rents Dip With Residential Changes

Median rents fell below $3,300 — 18% below 2019 and a first since 2011 — as the residential population shifted. 


Major Projects Make Progress

Elizabeth H. Berger Plaza and Peck Slip Park neared completion. New bicycle infrastructure was rolled out, including a new dedicated bike lane and an announcement to convert a vehicular lane of the Brooklyn Bridge to bicycle-only use. 


Downtown Alliance COVID Recovery Dashboard And Resource Page 

The Downtown Alliance created a homepage acting as an up-to-date clearinghouse for Lower Manhattan’s COVID recovery date, as well as highlighting our most prominent initiatives supporting local businesses. Our COVID recovery dashboard includes real estate market data across all sectors, as well as metrics related to transportation, population and pedestrian traffic in the district. Details here