Suburbs Lose Office Workers to Business Districts, Reversing a Post-War Trend
By Anton Troianovski | Wall Street Journal
As the market for office space shows signs of recovery, the suburbs are getting left behind.
For decades, the suburbs benefited from companies seeking lower rent, less crime and a shorter commute for many workers. But now, office buildings in many city downtowns have stopped losing tenants or are filling up again even as the office space in the surrounding suburbs continues to empty, a challenge to the post-war trend in the American workplace and a sign of the economic recovery’s uneven geography.
Even some forlorn cities are showing signs of revival. In Detroit, Health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan next spring will start moving thousands of suburban employees into the downtown.
Like many cities, Detroit offered an incentive package, including giving Blue Cross employees free annual passes to a public-transit system that connects its downtown buildings. Another motivation: to have more people in one place as the insurer adjusts to the health-care overhaul.
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