Office occupancy rates have held steady, but for how much longer?

    When the COVID-19 pandemic forced a temporary shutdown of the economy in the spring of 2020, GMFS, like so many other employers, sent its workers home to do their jobs remotely.

    Nearly 18 months later, the mortgage lending company’s approximately 35,000-square-foot operations center in the Bon Carre Business Park remains mostly empty, though the company has begun bringing everyone back to their desks and cubicles two days each month for in-person work.

    “We did it in July for the first time and it was a great way for everyone to reconnect,” says GMFS President and CEO Terrell “Tee” Brown. “When the delta variant hit we had to put it on pause. But we’re going to begin doing it again later this fall.”

    Many companies couldn’t afford to lease 35,000 square feet of office space only to use it a few days a month. But because GMFS has such a sweet deal at Bon Carre, paying just $10 per square foot, Brown says it’s worth it.

    Long-term tenants in other buildings with more expensive lease rates don’t necessarily have that luxury. Though the office market is holding relatively steady 18 months into the pandemic, several large leases are due to expire in the city’s office buildings in the next couple of years, prompting concerns that an already squishy market will dip into uncomfortably low territory.

    Some brokers are more upbeat than others. But there’s a general consensus around a couple of trends. 

    Read the full story about the Baton Rouge office market from the latest edition of Business Report. Send comments to editor@businessreport.com