Richard Tice, real estate veteran and Brexit Party chairman, warns the virtual downtown abandonment could cut office rents by 40% over the next 18 months, with retail rents hit even harder.
“It’s terrible. The premises reopened and then closed because there is no passage. I’ve spoken to dozens of office workers who say they don’t have to come back until the New Year. ”
An increase in remote working could make many inner-city businesses unsustainable and push these services to the suburbs as workers move.
Others remain optimistic about the ability of central London’s economy to adapt to the new normal. City workers will eventually flock to pubs, travelers will crisscross Victoria and the bright lights of the West End will return. The time it will take and the return of pre-virus activity levels remains uncertain.
Agrawal says, “When we talk about recovery, it’s not just about going back to the old normal. We need to reinvent what our city of the future might look like. ”
Richard Brown, deputy director of the Center for London, says companies that reduce their office space will allow new entrants to move in.
“In previous recessions, around Hoxton and Shoreditch, a lot of vacant properties popped up and creative industries moved. The case is still there for big cities like London, but it will be different. ”