The charts below show the amount of available office space for the four counties in and around Atlanta that I chose to highlight. “Available square footage” means the square footage that is available for lease or sale, not total square footage. Total square footage would include properties that are not for lease or sale, and I only want to focus on those properties that are on the market.
Available square footage data from CoStar Group
The amount of available square footage for office space in Fulton County is extremely high at 27 million square feet compared to the other three counties, which have between 6.3 and 7.3 million square feet available. It is likely that Fulton County has so much more available square feet because of its size. Fulton county is the largest of these four counties in both population and land area, with Dekalb being the smallest. To compare these two counties, Fulton has a population of roughly 1.06 million while Dekalb’s population is around 700,000. In regards to land area, Fulton County is 534 square miles and Dekalb is 271 square miles. This may not be the only reason for the huge difference in available office space, though. Since Gwinnett County is only about 100,000 people and 100 square miles smaller than Fulton, it is hard to say why Fulton County has nearly 20 million more available square feet than each of these other counties. Because Gwinnett and Fulton Counties are closer in land size and population, Fulton county’s size cannot be the only factor that plays a role in how much more office space they have. This seemed fishy to me, so I double checked my data and can confirm that the numbers are right. The total inventory square footage (available for lease or sale and already occupied properties) in Fulton County is 96.7 million compared to 18.5 million in Gwinnett, 24.3 million in Cobb, and 20.9 million in Dekalb.
As shown in the above charts, each county’s available square footage has increased by between 2 and 3 million square feet since 2005, except Fulton County, which increased by about 10 million square feet. Again, as with the analysis of the other categories in these counties, it seems that available office space was increasing well before Coronavirus hit the United States. Between March and June of 2020, available space in these areas increased as expected with the historical trends and with the current environment. Fulton County had an increase during these three months of around 2 million square feet while the other three counties had an average increase of .5 million square feet increase.
Because so many companies were required to work remotely during these months, it is likely that they realized they can save a lot of money on rent by decreasing their rented space and only bringing a certain number of employees into the office every day. Based on my research, this is becoming a trend. If employees do not need to be in the office every day, executives are taking that as an opportunity to save money and may not send everyone back into the office once life gets back to “normal.” This can also help ease employee’s minds when they do go into the office. With less people in one space, the risk of contracting Coronavirus right now and even in the future is lowered.
Don’t forget to compare these numbers to the retail space numbers in the “Atlanta Retail Square Footage by County” post!
All data in this post from CoStar Group