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'Confluence of the pandemic and the hybrid workforce' | Demand for office space across the country is down

Big name companies are making changes in the new year.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Since the pandemic, more people working from home are finding little to no reason to go back to the office. As a result, many businesses are trying to reinvent themselves to attract talent, which is having a trickle effect on existing office buildings.

Barry Fabyan, the senior managing director of agency leasing at JLL Charlotte, told WCNC Charlotte a big reason has to do with the pandemic.

"Properties and Charlotte hadn't done anything wrong," Fabyan said "Owners hadn't done anything. They had this confluence of the pandemic and the hybrid workforce, and then this flight to quality in a very short period of time."

Campbell Soup Company is the latest corporation to announce the consolidation of some of its offices, including its Ballantyne office. Instead, the company will invest in upgrading its main campus in New Jersey. 

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In a news release Wednesday, the company said the consolidation will help create a contemporary work environment, including on-site day care, a cafe, and a fitness center.

While construction on commercial buildings in Charlotte's South End is bustling, Fabyan said about 2.5 million square feet of office space in Uptown are available.

"There are several great opportunities to lease space in Uptown buildings that have made up parts of our skyline for years, especially where building improvements and upgrades are being made," Fabyan wrote. "For example, buildings such as One Independence Center, Charlotte Plaza and 440 S Church. There are about 150 full floors available in Uptown, providing great value for companies looking to relocate or consolidate that do not have the capability to wait 2-3 years for a new office building to be built."

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The JLL Senior Managing Director added, "The owners of those buildings are not standing still, we've got $50 million of investment today, going into rebranding and making more relevant these assets with everything from food halls, to golf simulators, to indoor outdoor space, places that allow someone who was working from home to feel like they have those same benefits."

Fabyan said weak demand and economic headwinds will pose a challenge when it comes to backfilling the current office space but remains optimistic.

"I come back to what I believe wholeheartedly, which is Charlotte is a great city and will win at a faster pace than others when the market returns," Fabyan said. 

Contact Jane Monreal at jmonreal@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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