Calling Charlotte’s City Center “Uptown” feels more ironic than ever.

Charlotte has an Office Problem

For years, Uptown city leaders were lauded for the strategic urban planning decisions they made for successful economic development, infrastructure investments, mixed-use development, arts and culture, and attractive public spaces that created an environment ripe for businesses and residents alike. 

Not only did they create a vibrant, walkable urban landscape—they also enabled the community to unite meaningfully while building a sense of pride among Charlotte’s citizens.

…But as you’ve probably noticed, Uptown has changed.

The shift to hybrid work has led to declining real estate values and lower property tax revenues in cities with urban cores like Charlotte. 

The typical office worker is now spending about $2,000 to $4,600 less per year in city centers, according to research from Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford University economist. 

Naturally, city officials in hard-hit areas like NYC are trying new strategies to attract workers, including tax incentives for office landlords to modernize buildings. 

Yet workers still prefer the comfort of their own homes.

Getting people to return to the office is a messy, complicated business. As a leader, you know too well that people are set in their ways and feel safe and efficient in the new normal. 

So if you’re stuck with office space, what can you do?

It may feel hopeless, but the truth is, you have options—options that most brokers won’t tell you about

Here are a few of them:

  • You can negotiate lower rents in second-tier submarkets that are hit hard by the remote workforce.
  • You can negotiate more flexible leases with termination options and options to extend.
  • Your tenant improvement allowance offers will be more significant during your next lease negotiation, so if you can take space “as-is” (which takes some of the financial pressure off of the landlord), you may find a bargain.
  • You have more options for signature spaces like top floors and balconies with building naming rights that were held only for the most coveted of tenants in the past.

The bottom line is, there are deals for tenants who know how to negotiate. 

Are you a leader who is wrestling with getting your workers back into the workplace? Do you want to bring them back with attractive offices? 

Uptown may not be as “up” as it once was, but it’s still one of the most desirable cities for living, working, and playing—a testament to smart planning decisions that prioritize economic development along with cultural and social activities.

And just so you know, Cardinal can help you navigate the return to the office, flexible lease terms, and insight into office space that appears to be off-market.

We’ll give you tools most brokers would never share. Like The Strategic Tenant Advocate™, a worksheet that helps you win negotiations even before you sit at the table.

Give us a call or shoot us an email. We’re standing by to help.

And that’s better than sitting in an empty, expensive office alone, isn’t it?

Real estate transactions can be fraught with frustration and pitfalls.

Sometimes the hardest part turns out to be working with your broker, the person who is supposed to help you through the complexities. Veteran commercial real estate broker and client advisor John Culbertson discovered that brokers’ interests aren’t always aligned with those of their clients. He realized there was a better way to advocate for clients and get the deal done.


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