He said there are a couple of positives:
Pre-leased 606 N Broadway will become the headquarters for Heartland Payment Systems and 550 employees, plus another 400 Heartland people will work in the Mideke Building at 100 E Main St. in Bricktown, taking space off the market.
And struggling SandRidge Energy’s nearly 500,000-square-foot headquarters at 123 Robert S. Kerr Ave. could be filled with state agencies if the Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office, or investment group Robinson Park, eventually buys it; both are considering it.
There is always a bright spot, said Brent Conway, senior vice president and office brokerage specialist with Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort.
“I think the outlook may be grim if you own a single-tenant building leased to a small (oil-and-gas) exploration or service provider. However, there’s always a positive side to every ‘worst-case’ scenario,” he said. COVID-19 “may turn out to be the final nail for some, but for others who are well positioned it will be a speed bump, not the brick wall some predict.”
Office specialist Amanda Sullivan with NAI Sullivan Group sees more of a chicane than a speed bump for office function — plus a spike in darkened space and a drop in lease rates.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the office market will see some mandatory changes as to how office buildings operate, especially for a full-service lease, which will affect the buildings’ operating costs,” she said in the firm’s office market report for the first quarter. “With the increase in laid-off and furloughed employees, and the collapse of crude oil prices, I would expect to see the negative absorption rates to increase and rental rates to decrease.”
Tucker said he doesn’t expect a hangover in the market from employees continuing to work from home after the coronavirus is deemed to be under control.