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This 3-bed condo with balcony at Brooklyn's Novo is priced under $2M (Compass) This 3-bed condo with balcony at Brooklyn's Novo is priced under $2M (Compass)
Despite Mayor de Blasio’s recent announcement that 80,000 city employees will soon report back to work on-site, post-pandemic, most private-sector workers will likely continue to work remotely or only be return a few days a week. As of late March, approximately 90 percent of Manhattan office workers were still working remotely, with less than half slated to return to work by September.

Companies that have already announced plans to go permanently remote or hybrid include Spotify in Lower Manhattan, Salesforce in Bryant Park, and Google in Chelsea. And these tech companies are just the tip of the iceberg. From investment firms to marketing companies, each week, more organizations announce plans to ditch office culture permanently. The implications for New York City real estate are significant.

Some Commercial Buildings Will be Converted for Residential Use

With a high likelihood that many office buildings will never have the occupancy rates they did pre-pandemic, conversion projects are already at the top of many developers’ agendas. Faced with a growing housing crisis, converting empty office buildings and hotels into housing also makes good sense (mayoral candidate Maya Wiley has already proposed the idea). Unfortunately, doing this is easier said than done.

First, for vacant office buildings to be converted into residential buildings, the city will need to carry out a massive rezoning initiative. Typically, rezoning takes years, not months, so this will likely be a long and drawn-out process. Even if the city does give the green light for conversions, however, other problems are likely to arise. While the idea of converting empty office buildings into affordable housing may sound great, few office buildings can be easily converted due to their design. Most office buildings have larger floor plates than most residential buildings, which means creating legal apartments (e.g., with an adequate number of windows) can be challenging.
Despite the obstacles that lie ahead, office-to-residential conversions aren’t impossible (Los Angeles is already home to many successful conversions). If local city planners, architects, engineers, and developers can find a way to collaborate, many Manhattan neighborhoods could look a lot different in the future. Imagine Midtown turned into a vibrant mixed-income community for families? While it is too soon to say for certain whether this will happen, it is now a possibility.
Bryant Park Tower View over Garment District/Midtown South from Bryant Park Tower (Corcoran Group)

Relocations to the Outer-Bourughs / Suburbs Will Continue

There have been many articles on the current exodus to the suburbs, Brooklyn, and Queens, and this trend seems likely to continue post-pandemic. First, given a choice, there are a certain number of people who would prefer to raise their families in a large suburban home rather than a small coop or condo apartment. Second, despite surging prices in the suburbs, compared to the price of many coops and condos in New York City, one can still find great value in most suburban communities.

As some urbanites move to the suburbs, however, they will likely bring their own needs and wants. Over time, this may result in some suburban areas adopting more urban amenities and even becoming somewhat more walkable and bike-friendly.

The Design of Urban Residential Spaces Will Change

Not everyone wants to live in the suburbs, and for this reason alone, New York City won’t become a ghost town anytime soon. What is likely to change is what New Yorkers are willing to tolerate when it comes to residential spaces.

Before the pandemic, many New Yorkers were willing to live in exceptionally small spaces because they spent more hours of the week out than they did at home. The pandemic changed this situation overnight. By April, moving trucks were already loading up boxes across the city. While some of these trucks left and never returned, many others simply drove to larger units within the five boroughs. Post-pandemic, the demand for larger spaces, especially apartments with home offices, seems bound to continue. After all, after a year in lockdown, how many New Yorkers are lining up to rent micro-apartments?
The demand for larger apartments isn’t the only thing likely to change post-pandemic. Since last April, developers have been making small changes to previously approved designs to add now in-demand features, including front vestibules and additional elevators.

Beyond adding more floor space, rooms, and elevators, the pandemic has also led some developers to rethink which common amenities to build into their developments. Pre-pandemic, shared amenities from common rooms and co-working spaces to infinity pools and bowling alleys were trending. Post-pandemic, many shared amenities no longer hold the same appeal for renters or buyers. This doesn’t mean amenity rich buildings are gone but rather than the type of amenities being offered will shift. Where shared workspaces or playrooms once existed, we’re likely to see more space for storage, including bike storage.

Large, Family-Friendly Listings with Home Offices and Private Outdoor Space

From the Listing: Designer appointed two-bedroom duplex with spacious lower recreation room leading out to your own private patio garden. Hamilton Parc Condo is situated quietly between bustling Broadway shopping, services, transportation, and City College on Amsterdam Avenue with very popular eateries nearby.

This home has two levels with unusually high ceilings that offer comfortable open living and oversized windows providing bright southern and northern light. The kitchen has granite countertops, all stainless GE appliances, and is open to the living-dining area that faces Jacob H. Schiff Playground, one of the larger playgrounds around the city. The front-to-back floor-thru provides excellent air ventilation and quiet bedrooms. There are two full baths upstairs and a 1/2 bath down, all very well designed.
See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Welcome to this special home at Plaza 400, one of the leading coops here in Sutton Place. Enjoy exceptional VALUE, space and versatility. The home is ideal as a 2 bedroom / 2 bath with a vibrant dining room or home office. Alternatively, room can be seamlessly converted into a 3rd BEDROOM. Estate Sale, Sold As-Is. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Enjoy coming home to your own special aerie! The spacious square set-back terrace is beautifully planted and open to the sky. It faces south and west with exceptional city views. It can be accessed from both the primary bedroom and the home office off the living room. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Welcome to Apt 22H in Plaza Tower- an immaculately renovated-to-the studs modern and bright two bedroom (convertible three-bedroom)/ two bath with a home office that will take your breath away! This one-of-a-kind home is perfect for living and entertaining with its open layout and high-end sophistication. The apartment boasts solid maple hardwood floors throughout, a sun-filled southern-facing living room with balcony, dining room/potential third bedroom, home office with modern steel and glass barn door, abundant closets, and fully renovated kitchen and bathrooms. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Live like you are on vacation! Be enchanted by magnificent river views from your Living Room front row seat! Enjoy watching ferries and boats sailing by. This special home consists of an Entrance Foyer that leads to an enormous Dining Gallery with herringbone wood flooring. Just beyond the Dining Gallery is the expansive Living Room with spectacular direct River Views from a wall of windows. Enjoy the spacious Eat-In-Kitchen with 3 separate windows with river and park views. This 4 Bedroom home is currently designed as a 3 Bedroom, plus a flexible Den/TV Room, which easily converts to a 4th bedroom or home office. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Looking for new development without the new development price tag and high monthlies? This modern, sleek and stylish apartment will take your breath away. From the moment you enter this beautiful, architect-designed 3 bed, 2 bath home, it's obvious that no detail went unnoticed and no expense was spared. Expert craftsmanship, custom closets, stylish hardware, and designer details can be seen throughout. As you enter, you are welcomed by an expansive living space beaming with light from the oversized west-facing windows with views of downtown Manhattan. The generously proportioned living offers a comfortable place to relax with the family while enjoying sunsets from the western exposure. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: This stunning property is a two-apartment combination corner unit with unobstructed views and enclosed balcony. From the moment you enter this residence, you are taken with its openness and abundance of natural light from southern and western exposures. The spectacular picturesque views overlook the treetops of the Historic Seward Park and Seward Park Library Landmarks extending to the Freedom Tower and Lower Manhattan Skyline. The 3-acre park allows for open sky city views and breathtaking sunsets. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Welcome home to this sprawling, 1818 sqft, three bed, two and a half bath apartment with private storage and a deeded parking spot, ideally situated just one flight up! Upon entering, one is greeted by a proper entry foyer, complete with a coat closet and powder room, before the space opens up to the open concept living and dining room beyond. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Residence 209 is an impeccably designed and expansive 1,524 square foot 3 bedroom plus home office, 2 bath home with a 244 square foot private terrace complete with a gas grill, running water and electricity. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Private elevator access delivers you to this grand and gracious two-bedroom plus windowed home office, which can easily convert to a third bedroom. This 1,682sf penthouse is perfection in the sky. Oversized windows throughout provide tremendous light and beautiful views of Brooklyn and beyond. The expansive great room allows for multiple configurations - perfect for both entertaining and everyday living. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Guaranteed to wow you! Not your cookie-cutter 2-story fantasy home with mesmerizing panoramic views and a balcony. Luxuriate in 2,321 square feet high above midtown Manhattan with views in all directions. The sun-blasted great room feels like a TriBeCa loft with better views. Windowed kitchen includes a Viking professional range with griddle and vent, Subzero refrigerator, temperature-controlled wine storage and LG side-by-side washer/dryer. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: 7 Room /Terraced Home With River Views. Welcome to 50 Sutton Place South, Apartment 16AB, one of Sutton Place's most desirable co-ops. This apartment is not to be missed. Located on a high floor, the elegant gallery opens into an enormous living and entertaining space comprised of the living room, formal dining room and east balcony- stunning river views! See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Unique and contemporary condo has defining features that include 16-foot height ceiling and two leveled private landscaped garden. This lovely condo, on a peaceful block in Williamsburg, has recently been refreshed and is ready to have a new owner move in. Open and spacious duplex layout comes with 16-foot double-height windows plus 800+ square foot garden - feels like your own townhouse in a condo building. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Enter this full floor stunning 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom condo via private keyed elevator entrance! Upon entering there is a foyer leading to a large living/ dining space that is excellent for entertaining. The living room and dining room were both renovated in 2021 providing a lot of storage space and bar area around the ventless fireplace. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: PH5G at 121 W 20th is a dramatic and rarely available Loft in a Prewar Condominium located where Chelsea meets Flatiron. This outstanding duplex home with a 650 SF private roof terrace features a grand open great room, soaring 17' ceilings, traditional cast-iron columns, limestone surrounds gas fireplace, honed granite window sills, and a skylight shining down natural light. On the Main level, an entrance foyer leads to a voluminous and light-filled grand living/dining room facing south through oversized windows. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Enjoy ample outdoor space and room for home office in this expansive home, created by combining a three-bedroom and an alcove studio. The living room opens onto an impressive 33’ long terrace that faces West and offers breathtaking city and Hudson River views. The existing configuration features 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a formal dining room, spacious living room, and kitchen with breakfast nook and great closet space. All rooms feature zen-like views, a full garden, and partial river views. . See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: An achievement in configuration, Residence 3B also impresses as a showcase of modern kitchen and bath design. This can easily be used as 3 bedroom or oversized home office! The thoughtfully designed space includes a Chef's kitchen with custom European oak cabinetry, a Bertazzoni oven and cooktop, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, freezer and wine cooler.

The master suite offers a 5-fixture bath, large walk-in closet and loggia to enjoy light and air throughout the year. With 10 foot ceilings and oversized windows, the entire residence boasts natural light and open city views.
See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Completely renovated, hard-wired, Smart Home, with PRIVATE PARKING, and 1,400+ SF of glorious outdoor space!Beautifully renovated with the utmost attention to detail and quality, this turnkey, Bespoke townhouse has a brand new roof, windows, spray foam insulation from basement to roof, an operable roof skylight, new plumbing & electrical, a full coverage sprinkler system, and asophisticatedUnicoheating& cooling system you'll be comfortable in this home all season long. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: OCCUPANCY SPRING 2021<br><br>A brand new full-floor condo boasting chic finishes and a prime Hell's Kitchen location, this 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home is a portrait of contemporary city living. Features of this 1,525 sq. ft. apartment include gorgeous engineered white oak floors, oversized double glazed windows with thermal insulation, an in-unit Bosch washers/dryer, a private storage unit, key-locked elevator access, and a charming balcony and 174 sq. ft. private rooftop terrace. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: *Special Offer: Seller Pays 1 Year Of Common Charges! This extraordinary 3BR/3BA duplex at the Nevins defies belief. Panoramic views inspire and luxurious space delights, with 1,736 interior square feet across the 19th and 20th floors, and a sprawling 300+ square foot terrace from which to view the sweep of the city, harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and the skyline. Take it all in via the video tour, then call to arrange your private showing!

This one-of-a-kind layout spans two floors, and features floor-to-ceiling glass windows with south and west exposures, 6-inch-wide plank oak floors throughout, a Bosch washer and dryer, and an efficient central A/C and heating system.
See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Rarely does such a spacious high floor 3 bedroom plus home office, which can also serve as a 4th bedroom, become available at the esteemed 75 Wall Street. 35O is the rare opportunity you've been waiting for. This 1,900 SF corner unit offers walls of windows with views of the East River and the New York skyline. On top of that all, this stunning home has two private terraces with different exposures so it truly feels like a wraparound residence. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Totally unique three-bedroom with East River Views. A smartly designed combination, this spacious apartment is unlike any other on the market. Wake up to the sun rising over the East River, bathing the living room and master bedroom in natural light. There is an exceptional flow for entertaining, with a 50' expanse from the living room to the dining room. and leading out to a nearly 500 square foot planted terrace. The terrace, which has irrigation and a retractable awning, overlooks the Promenade and the East River, lending the perfect backdrop for gatherings and parties. Off of the kitchen is a comfortable den with a wet bar. The third bedroom is currently used a guest room and home office and has an en suite bathroom and fantastic walk-in closet. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Welcome home to D724 at The Oosten -- An Architectural Digest-worthy, palatial 2,357 square foot Penthouse with more than 3,000 square feet of terrace overhead is not to be missed. This designer duplex features 3 custom bedrooms, 3 full baths and one powder room. With its expansive 31-foot width, 20-foot double-height ceilings, ultrachic design, white marble open chef's kitchen, sprawling bedrooms, and multiple living areas, this brilliantly laid out lofted duplex is resplendent in every way. See floor plan and full details here.

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Contributing Writer Cait Etherington Cait Etherington has over twenty years of experience working as a journalist and communications consultant. Her articles and reviews have been published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and internationally. An experienced financial writer, Cait is committed to exposing the human side of stories about contemporary business, banking and workplace relations. She also enjoys writing about trends, lifestyles and real estate in New York City where she lives with her family in a cozy apartment on the twentieth floor of a Manhattan high rise.