PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — According to brokers in the city, nearly one in five offices in downtown Portland is empty.
The state of the area is one of the reasons TriMet has moved its headquarters downtown.
The transit agency is moving hundreds of workers to one main place to work for at least the majority of the week, while the city’s post-pandemic recovery ranks one of the slowest in the nation.
“There was a time when an event like this would’ve been taken for granted,” said Andrew Hoan, president of the Portland Business Alliance. ‘We have been through some hard times.”
The hard times have left 20% of Portland’s offices vacant since the end of the pandemic. But TriMet brings 275 people back to six floors of a downtown corporate office.
“We got a very advantageous lease deal because of the situation downtown at the time,” said Tia York with Trimet.
The agency, who inked the deal last year, was looking at a $44 million lease over 15 years at its old office. Its new lease is $33 million over 10 years, initially costing $3.3 million per year, but the building manager threw in perks like 14 months free rent, plus moving and upgrade allowances to entice the agency into the offices.
The employees, who will come to one main place, are required to work 1-3 days a week. Hoan thinks that will mean downtown will need to recalibrate from the times before 2020.
“Of course, we’re going to be challenged by the new reality. We don’t need as much space. As we continue to add employment, as we continue to have employers move to downtown because of the incredible opportunity, we’re going to see the city grow, recover and surpass where it was before.”