Coronavirus has Citi considering suburban offices: Report

NYC financial firms eye New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester

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Citigroup Inc. could be the next major financial institution to move some offices out of New York City as the coronavirus pandemic has kept nonessential office-based employees working from home.

The bank is looking into opening satellite offices outside its Manhattan headquarters in suburban Long Island, Westchester County and New Jersey, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

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CCITIGROUP INC.47.91-1.25-2.54%

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A Citi spokesperson confirmed to FOX Business that the company was looking into opening additional satellite offices outside Manhattan but declined to share any further details.

Citi may opt for short-term leases of furnished office space to allow workers to avoid commuting into the city, according to the report.

The logo for Citigroup above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

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The pandemic slowed office leasing activity in the first quarter of 2020, according to CBRE. The real estate service firm published a report last month that found the vacancy rate was up 12.3 percent and that nine of the 10 largest markets saw vacancy rates increase as the pandemic spread and necessitated stay-at-home orders.

However, the vacancy rate in NYC-adjacent New Jersey remained flat, according to CBRE. And a number of financial firms, media companies, tech businesses and law firms have been reaching out to landlords about office space in the New York suburbs, according to the Bloomberg report.

People walk beneath a Citibank branch logo. (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)

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Brandon Huffman, principal at office owner Rubenstein Partners, told Bloomberg the firm had received inquiries for “several hundred thousand square feet” of space.

“There’s an overwhelming number of employees that need mass transit to access the urban environment,” he told Bloomberg. “Nobody knows how that’s going to work in a social-distancing world.”

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