When the city’s economic development agency announces success in occupying commercial real estate in its annual balance sheets, it is not regularly included: the City Tower.
Offenbach – At 140 meters, the tallest building in the city, which on its upper floors offers an impressive view of Frankfurt and the Taunus, has also had one of the highest vacancies for years. According to the latest data available to the city, almost 20,000 square meters of around 24,500 square meters of office space are available. By 2017, the branch of the management consultancy Capgemini and the engineering service provider Brunel, which had meanwhile moved to Frankfurt, ensured that the Offenbach Tower was at least half full. The tire manufacturer Falken Tire Europe is currently the main tenant in the high-rise building on Berliner Strasse.
The property has been owned by Comer Group Europe, based in Berlin, since 2016, a subsidiary of Comer Group London, which was founded in Ireland. At that time she had acquired the building from Leipziger Publity AG. At the time, those involved said nothing about the occupancy rate or – common in the industry – the sales price.
Once Brexit has been completed, there will be enough interested parties for the City Tower, has been the mantra of Comer since then, which the city’s economic development agency has regularly transmitted.
According to Bozica Niermann, who has been in charge of economic development since the beginning of the year and inherited the problem property from her predecessor Jürgen Amberger, the owner is still pursuing the strategy of finding a major tenant. “Brexit wasn’t that long ago, everything is still in motion,” she hopes. She got a message from Comer that she was currently negotiating with potential tenants. The statements confirm what has always been true when renting private commercial properties: The city has limited or no influence on development. Bozica Niermann also emphasizes that a well-filled City Tower with a large number of employees would be important for revitalizing the city center.
A spokesman for the Comer Group has meanwhile confirmed that there are several potential tenants for the property. Details could possibly be given in the next month.
Trends in the industry indicate that things could still turn out when the City Tower is fully let: According to a report by news broadcaster n-tv, British companies trading with the mainland are apparently encouraged by government trade advisors to separate Establish a company within the EU. This means that the fees, bureaucratic effort and taxes associated with Brexit can be avoided, they say.
And a survey by the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) among around 1200 companies in the fourth quarter of 2020 showed that, despite the Corona crisis and home office, only 6.4% of those surveyed want to reduce their office space in the next twelve months.
According to this, the strongest tendency to reduce space is shown by large companies with more than 250 employees as well as law firms, consultancies and auditors, but even here it is only 9.7%. However, just under 17% wanted to convert their offices, for example to close group offices or create communication areas.
In the case of large companies it is even 41%. Two thirds of the companies were not planning to enable their employees to work more from home after the pandemic than before the crisis.
The IW therefore anticipates that the office market will not collapse in the near future.
By Matthias Dahmer