IBJ Podcast: What happens to downtown if workers stay remote?

When Salesforce announced that, even after the pandemic, it planned to let many employees work from home most of the time, a ripple of dread spread across downtown. After all, some 2,000 Salesforce employees worked downtown before COVID struck, patronizing restaurants and retailers.

Other companies have indicated that they, too, plan to reevaluate how many people need to work in an office, and therefore, how much office space they actually need.

It’s too soon to know for sure how many downtown workers might not be back. But to try to get a handle on the possibilities, host Mason King talks with IBJ real estate reporter Mickey Shuey about what he’s hearing on the street.

Plus, Mason talks with Adam Broderick, managing broker for the Indianapolis office of Chicago-based JLL, about how the market is shifting as well as restauranteur Ed Rudisell about what that could mean for businesses that depend on downtown workers.

You can read more in Shuey’s story at IBJ.com.

Click here to find the IBJ Podcast each Monday. You can also subscribe at iTunesGoogle PlayTune In, Spotify and anyplace you find podcasts. Here are some of our recent episodes:

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7 thoughts on “IBJ Podcast: What happens to downtown if workers stay remote?

    1. We aren’t the only city going through this. But the answer is transforming Indianapolis away from the commuter city that is always has been. Make Indianapolis livable for people who live in Center Township.

    2. Center Township already received the lion share of help from the City. Indys issues are more related to neglected parts of the city.

  1. This situation can open up more of that office space for the residential market. The residential population has exploded downtown (and there wasn’t enough space), just use that OFFICE SPACE as residential space—that way you keep the workers AND the residents—in the same space. Problem solved.

    1. I just read a downtown restaurant owner state that they are hurting with so many businesses there going remote because there aren’t enough people living downtown to keep the restaurants afloat. But you’re saying “the residential population has exploded downtown”? Hmmmmmmm. Who’s correct and who’s incorrect?

    2. Oh, the residential population has exploded downtown. Many of the old downtown parking lots are now higher-end condos. Downtown restaurant owners are correct—they are getting DoorDashed and losing money because SO many are USING DoorDash. We are both right. That large socially distant residential population orders food now—so the restaurants while still in business, are losing money.

  2. You have to look at the classification of the employee.
    Remote- Never on-site.
    Flex- May come on-site once a week, once a month, or project-based.
    Office- On-site.
    If the majority of the employees become remote, they may not go to Downton Indy or even reside in Indiana.

    As for downtown restaurants, it may take 5 years or longer to recover fully, and without lunch business, restaurants will have to change their business model downtown. . Marion County has been less than friendly to the restaurant industry compared to surrounding counties. Marion county should reevaluate the food and beverage tax they have been collecting for years.

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