• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Offices empty as firms flee Zurich's city centre

Malcolm Curtis · 24 Jul 2012, 07:59

Published: 24 Jul 2012 07:59 GMT+02:00

The result is empty floor space in many downtown buildings, according to real estate experts.

Although commercial rents remain costly in the centre of Switzerland’s biggest city, the situation is rapidly evolving.

In the next two to three years “property owners will most likely need to lower their rents by 10 to 20 percent if they want to find a buyer for their rooms,” Daniel Stocker of Colliers International, the real estate company, told the Tages Anzeiger newspaper.

One reason for the drop in demand is decisions by large employers such as the UBS bank to transfer jobs to locations like Altstetten, Oerlikon or Opfikon on the city’s periphery.

Credit Suisse in March moved more than 2,000 employees to its Uetlihof building southwest of the city centre, while insurer Allianz is transferring 1,200 workers to a site in suburban Wallisellen.

The University of Zurich and the city’s college of education are both shifting operations out of the central business district.

Experts say older buildings in the centre no longer meet the needs of commercial tenants because they do not allow for “open plan” offices and are energy inefficient, besides being difficult to reach by car.

And rental costs downtown remain high.

UBS pays less than half for its space per square metre in Altstetten than in the city centre, Tages Anzeiger reports.

While businesses appear keen to abandon the core, demand for residential accommodation there remains high.

However, a study by consultants Wüest & Partner concludes that converting office space into apartments is costly and difficult.

Still, some foresee a demand, even with apartment rents estimated at up to 5,000 or 6,000 francs a month for 100 square metres of floor space.

Apartment conversions would bring full circle a process that saw hundreds of Zurich’s downtown homes converted into offices in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

2012-07-24 12:25:02 by smeghead
I feel that it is better to spread out offices around the country, less travel for people, more quality time at home, less polution too. rather than have centres for say banking or pharma in one place
Today's headlines
Expert predicts major quake for Switzerland by 2040
A fireman stands in the Italian village of Amatrice, which was badly hit by this week's earthquake. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The canton of Valais is particularly at risk.

Aggressive deer put down after attacking four in Geneva
File photo: Michal Kosacky

The buck attacked four people in the same area over the course of 48 hours.

Navigation error ends badly for Basel driver

A man accidentally drove his car down a flight of steps after his passenger directed him the wrong way.

Blatter 'confident' as he faces Swiss sports court
Sepp Blatter. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Former Fifa boss Sepp Blatter is back in court on Thursday as he seeks to overturn a six-year ban from football.

Federer teams up with Nadal for new tennis tournament
Federer and Nadal at the Laver Cup launch with Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. Photo: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images North America/AFP

The duo will play doubles together in a new competition pitting Europe against the rest of the world in a tennis team event.

Geneva advises teachers on religion in school
File photo: C Carlstead

The secular canton of Geneva has issued guidelines for teachers on how to deal with religious issues in the classroom.

All you need to know about Switzerland’s strangest sports
Swiss wrestling is the main event at the Eidgenössische. Photo: Ulrich Ackermann/Swiss Tourism

The Local takes a closer look at the unique Swiss sports that are the highlight of the Fédérale, or Eidgenössische, festival this weekend.

Basel woman tied up and robbed in own home
Basel city. File photo: Michelle Kinsey Bruns

The victim was attacked by three burglars in her home in broad daylight.

Swiss sports court upholds Russia ban from Paralympics
Head of Russia's Paralympic Committee Vladimir Lukin. Photo: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP

Russia has lost an appeal against a suspension issued over a vast, state-run doping programme.

Swiss Post trials robot parcel deliveries in Bern
The robots are designed to carry out local deliveries autonomously. Photo: Starship

Robots will be seen on the streets of the Swiss capital next month.

Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Starship
Technology
Swiss Post trials robot parcel deliveries in Bern
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: AFP
Politics
Survey: Swiss optimistic about Brexit effect
Photo: Neil Heritage/Endeavour Fund
Features
Amputee's Matterhorn trek 'makes it more possible' for others
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: EPFL
International
Switzerland tops global innovation table – again
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Photo: Vasily Cotovanu
National
Asylum centre plans shelved after Swiss village protests
Photo: The Local
Politics
NeuchĂątel looks to boost rights for foreigners
Photo: AFP
Sport
In pictures: final day success takes Swiss to seven medals
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: AFP
National
Experts debate rail security following Swiss train attack
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
File photo: AFP
Sport
Two basejumpers die in Lauterbrunnen accidents
Photo: AFP
International
Amnesty fears for child migrants at Italian border
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Photo: AXA Winterthur
National
Report: Geneva is Swiss capital of car theft
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP
National
Top tips for watching the meteor shower in Switzerland
File photo: Andrew Turner
Technology
Swiss start-up to offer drone service to farmers
Photo: Beat Strasser
National
British quadruple amputee summits Matterhorn
Photo: Judit Klein
National
Switzerland sees rise in child victims of forced marriage
Photo: Michael Schlick/OS Muhr
National
Swiss hiker in Austria rescued after sending SOS to America
Photo: Chris Murphy
Features
14 mistakes foreigners make on moving to Switzerland
Photo: AFP
Lifestyle
Swiss resort unveils huge ‘natural’ fresco on mountain
Photo: C Sonderegger/Swiss Tourism
National
Five great Swiss traditions all expats should try
Photo: AFP
National
Confirmed cases of Zika virus soar in Switzerland
Photo: eGuide Travel
National
Prison for woman who faked Swiss airport bomb threat
Photo: AFP
Technology
Swiss solar plane completes epic round-the-world trip
4,666
jobs available