Warren Buffett questions the need for office space

Berkshire Hathaway boss predicts fundamental change in demand and supply

TRD NATIONAL /
May.May 05, 2020 09:30 AM
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett (Buffett by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett (Buffett by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

The Oracle of Omaha foretells an existential challenge for office space.

At Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting on Saturday — held this year via live stream from an empty arena — CEO Warren Buffett quipped that it had been more than seven weeks since he had put on a tie. And the extended period of remote work may affect more than just clothing choices.

“The supply and demand for office space may change significantly,” Buffett said. “A lot of people have learned that they can work at home, or that there’s other methods of conducting their business than they might have thought from what they were doing a couple of years ago. When change happens in the world, you adjust to it.”

Throughout the event, which lasted more than four hours, Buffett made his case for a bullish view of the U.S. economy in the long term. He also praised the government’s Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses — while acknowledging some of the controversies around its administration.

“It must be hell to administer,” he said. “It just isn’t that easy to inaugurate incredibly large [programs]. There’s going to be a certain amount of fraud.”

Buffett also said that his firm — whose holdings include Geico, Dairy Queen, railroads and energy companies — may need to lay off some workers in the short term. He also said that front-line health care, delivery and food-service workers deserve higher wages and more respect.

Economic fallout from the coronavirus has also led the legendary investor to dump his entire stake in airline stocks.

“We like those airlines but the world has changed…and I don’t know how it’s changed,” Buffett said at the meeting. [WSJ] — Kevin Sun


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Columbia Property Trust CEO Nelson Mills and 245-249 West 17th Street (Photos via Columbia Property Trust; StreetEasy)

Columbia Property Trust collects 98% of its rent in Q3

Columbia Property Trust collects 98% of its rent in Q3
Hudson Pacific Properties CEO Victor Coleman and Sunset Las Palmas Studios (Google Maps, iStock)

Hudson Pacific studio revenue takes hit

Hudson Pacific studio revenue takes hit
The Factory building at 30-30 47th Avenue with Square Mile Capital’s Craig Solomon and Invesco CEO Marty Flanagan (Photos via The Factory; Square Mile; Invesco)

Here’s what tenants are paying at the Factory in Long Island City

Here’s what tenants are paying at the Factory in Long Island City
From left: Paramount CEO Albert Behler, 1301 6th Avenue, 712 5th Avenue, 31 West 52nd Street (Getty; Google Maps)

Paramount Group back at work, but tenants waiting until 2021

Paramount Group back at work, but tenants waiting until 2021
The Old Post Office (Google Maps)

Here’s what tenants pay at 601W Cos.’ Old Post Office in Chicago

Here’s what tenants pay at 601W Cos.’ Old Post Office in Chicago
The Manhattan office market’s overall vacancy rate rose to a 24-year high of 13.3% in the third quarter (iStock)

Cushman & Wakefield paints bleak picture for Manhattan office market

Cushman & Wakefield paints bleak picture for Manhattan office market
Centric Brands CEO Jason Rabin and the Empire State Building at 350 Fifth Avenue (Centric; Pixabay)

Centric Brands downsizes at the Empire State Building

Centric Brands downsizes at the Empire State Building
55 Water Street, 399 Park Avenue, and 113-133 West 18th Street in Midtown South have each had tenants put up more than 150,000 sq ft for sublease since the pandemic began. (Google Maps)

Manhattan now has 16M sf of available office sublease space

Manhattan now has 16M sf of available office sublease space
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...