Home Neighborhood Tallest Office in DoBro set to open amidst uncertain rental market

Tallest Office in DoBro set to open amidst uncertain rental market

One Willoughby Square office building
Photo from 1wsq.com

One Willoughby Square is certainly impressive. The architecture so striking that the architecture firm that designed is has leased three floors in the building. So far, they’re the only tenants.

But the fact that the firm that designed the building is leasing space is definitely part of the marketing story for the building. In fact, the New York Post has a full story on that fact.

FXCollaborative, previously known as FXFowle, is the anchor tenant at JEMB Realty’s nearly-finished One Willoughby Square in Downtown Brooklyn. The 34-story, 500,000 square-foot structure next to the DeKalb Avenue subway hub is the borough’s tallest new office building and scheduled to open later this year.

“We’re not just the tallest in the borough but the best-in-class asset in Brooklyn,” JEMB principal Jacob Jerome cheerfully boasted.

The entrance to the building is on Albee Street, right across from the entrance to City Point, providing easy access to Target, Trader Joes, and the Alamo Drafthouse (someday…). The location is also right next to the future Willoughby Square Park, which will exist someday, right?

Downtown Brooklyn was originally conceived as an office hub, similar to the Financial District in Manhattan. At least that was the original vision when the neighborhood was re-zoned. Instead, residential after residential building has popped up instead. One Willoughby Square is the first big new office complex (aside from Jay Street Metrotech, which has existed for a while).

The neighborhood is idea for commuting, with nine subway lines nearby, many of which are a single stop or two out of Manhattan.

But the Post buries what I feel is the real lead:

FXCollaborative is the only office lease so far.

Oof. I may be misremembering, but I think that lease deal was in place before the pandemic started.

I think a lot of people are just waiting. Waiting to see how this all shakes out. With more and more companies telling their employees to work from home indefinitely, even the companies that want a “home base” are waiting to see how things shake out.

Will offices of the future look like offices of the past? Will people only come into the office a couple days a week? If so, how will offices change to adapt?

Office leases, unlike apartment leases, are usually for 5+ years or more. They also involve working with contractors to design the ideal layout for your business. Whenever everything about working in an office is up in the air, it’s no wonder the market is soft.

I’m personally optimistic for office working, and for One Willoughby Square. I love working in an office. But not everyone is of the same opinion. And we’ll have to see how things shake out.



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