Number of the Day

Big Tech’s NYC Land Grab, by the Numbers

The tech giants are turning into giant landlords

1.6 million square feet: That’s how much Big Tech’s real estate footprint in New York City has expanded since the beginning of 2020. Amazon, Apple, and Facebook have all bought or leased large swathes of office space in the city this year, much of it during the pandemic, per the New York Times. That’s not even counting the 1.7 million square feet that Google announced it would be adding to its office space in the city last December.

As the pandemic causes a massive shift to remote work, commercial real estate has been hit hard, and so has the rest of the trillion-dollar economy that lives off the commuting office worker. Areas like midtown Manhattan, which cater almost entirely to office workers, have emptied out, causing some folks to leave the city for dead.

But Big Tech’s expansion spree suggests that it shares Jerry Seinfeld’s optimism for the city. Even though these companies were among the first to encourage employees to work remotely when the pandemic hit, their real estate investments suggest they don’t expect employees to stay out of the office forever. Facebook and Stripe are among the companies that have already announced a location-based pay model, informing employees that those who choose to continue working remotely from less-expensive cities can expect a pay cut.

The tech giants aren’t expanding their footprint in just New York City, either. In August, Facebook purchased a 400,000 square foot campus in Bellevue, just outside Seattle, from the outdoor retailer REI, and Amazon announced in September that it would be leasing 2 million square feet of office space in the same city, with plans to build another skyscraper there.

Just a matter of time before these tech giants have more office space than WeWork.

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