Thursday, September 1, 2022

A recession could be great for the Philadelphia office market

 Natalie Kostelni Reporter Philadelphia Business Journal

Would a recession be just the thing the office market, landlords and central business districts need to get things back to — or at least close to — pre-pandemic levels of occupancy?

“If a recession were to occur, that balance between employee and employer could result in employers asking employees to come back into the office, and that would be great for the office market,” said Todd Briddell, CEO of CenterSquare Investment Management, which is based in Plymouth Meeting. “A recession could be a net positive for the office market, which is a little perverse.”

Briddell isn’t the only one who thinks this. Others have quietly murmured that a recession might be the way companies can flex their muscle and force employees to return to the office on a more regular basis. That said, Briddell acknowledged the labor market has proven it can maintain high levels of productivity while many employees have worked from home or maintained hybrid, flexible arrangements. Employers getting workers back to the office full-time or most of the time will need some coaxing.

“We need to earn the commute times,” he said. “I think Philadelphia needs substantial investment in infrastructure, especially in roads, to alleviate congestion and long commute times.”

Aside from the potential impact of a recession, Briddell shared his thoughts on how the firm’s focus on investing in infrastructure worked out, what investments CenterSquare is looking at these days, and where the firm is headed:

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