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Data: CommercialSearch; Chart: Axios Visuals

Of the 50 most expensive places to rent office space, 29 are in California and 13 are in New York — with the Bay Area, Manhattan and Brooklyn dominating the list.

Why it matters: Despite predictions of pandemic-related shakeups in commercial real estate — and the fact that so many cubicle dwellers are working at home — desirable urban office space remains at a premium.

Driving the news: A ranking based on 4Q 2020 numbers from CommercialEdge, a property data and listings service, was topped by Menlo Park, California (home to Facebook's headquarters) and the so-called "Plaza District" of midtown Manhattan.

  • Only five states — California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas and Florida — plus the District of Columbia were represented on the list.

The details: The most expensive place that was not in New York or California — at #15 — was Cambridge, Mass.

  • Downtown Boston came in at #31.
  • The "NoMa" area of Washington, D.C. (north of Massachusetts Avenue) was #35.
  • East Austin was #40, while downtown Austin was #46.
  • #50 was Miami's Brickell district.

The data — which includes only spaces of 25,000 square feet or more — represents the "asking rents" for offices.

What's next: Moody's Analytics predicts that effective office rents in Silicon Valley and New York will plummet in 2021, despite only dropping 0.7% in 2020.

  • The vacancy rate will rise to 19.4% in 2021 — surpassing the previous high of 17.6% from 2010 — and hold steady in 2022, per Moody's.
  • "The average effective office rent is projected to decline by 7.5% in 2021 before steadying in 2022," Moody's said.
  • "We do not expect average effective office rents to reach their pre-pandemic levels until 2026."

Go deeper

Police officers' immunity from lawsuits is getting a fresh look

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly a year after the death of George Floyd, advocates of changes in police practices are launching new moves to limit or eliminate legal liability protections for officers accused of excessive force.

Why it matters: Revising or eliminating qualified immunity — the shield police officers have now — could force officers accused of excessive force to personally face civil penalties in addition to their departments. But such a change could intensify a nationwide police officer shortage, critics say. 

The U.S. coronavirus vaccines aren't all the same

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The U.S. now has three COVID-19 vaccines, and public health officials are quick — and careful — to say there’s no bad option. But their effectiveness, manufacturing and distribution vary.

Why it matters: Any of the authorized vaccines are much better than no vaccine, especially for people at high risk of severe coronavirus infections. But their differences may fuel perceptions of inequity, and raise legitimate questions about the best way to use each one.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The future of workplace benefits

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The pandemic exposed how workplaces across America are inhospitable to parents. But it could also spur companies to make changes.

The big picture: Well over a million parents have left their jobs due to child care responsibilities during the pandemic. Now, companies — large and small — are attempting to reimagine workplace benefits and add flexibility to help those parents come back.