Slump! Wall Street Crisis Saps Office Leasing Activity

Not to put too fine a point on it, but fear has stupefied the Manhattan office leasing market. In the wake of the Wall Street meltdown, it is difficult to imagine a slower transaction pace, according to some brokers.

“It’s paralyzed things,” said Mark Weiss, executive vice president and principal at Newmark Knight Frank. “The only deals that are getting made are deals that have lease expirations that are imminent where there is a very, very compelling real estate solution to a tenant’s occupancy needs. Absolutely no discretionary deals are getting made right now.”

Sour tidings also came by way of Cushman & Wakefield power broker Brad Mendelson: “A lot of people are rethinking decisions. A lot of big leases that are out for signatures are going to hold, or are dead.”

Would-be tenants are either out of the game or are kicking the tires and then some, said Cory Zelnik of Zelnik & Co.

“They’re spending some time under the hood, not to be too clichéd about things,” Mr. Zelnik said.

But let’s end on a positive note, shall we? Mr. Weiss, a tenant rep, said that those leases that are getting done are solid ones.

“They will actually stand the test of time pretty well,” he said. “They’re reasonably priced. And if they were priced before last week, they’re getting repriced at a discount in almost every instance.”

Slump! Wall Street Crisis Saps Office Leasing Activity