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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Facebook leased a whopping 730,000 square feet in Manhattan's iconic Farley building in 2020. Photo: Ben Hider/Getty Images

The pandemic-induced shift to remote work has pushed Corporate America to rethink the need for office space.

By the numbers: The signing of new leases and the renewals of existing leases fell 36% in 2020, compared with 2019, according to a new report from the commercial real estate firm CBRE, shared exclusively with Axios.

But, but. but: The pandemic won't kill the office.

As I've reported, the same tech companies that were first to send workers home — and tell them they could stay home forever if they wanted — are signing big leases in big cities.

  • For example, Amazon is adding 900,000 square feet of office space in New York City, Phoenix, Dallas, Detroit, San Diego and Denver. And Facebook is expanding its New York footprint with 730,000 additional square feet in midtown Manhattan.
  • The CBRE report bears out this trend: Tech companies were the leaders in signing and renewing leases in 2020, accounting for 24% of leasing activity by square footage.

New York seems to be doing fine, too.

  • Manhattan swept up 20 of the 100 biggest leases of 2020, which came out to 6 million square feet.
  • D.C. was in second place with 4.9 million square feet.
  • And Seattle took a distant third with 2.2 million square feet.
  • The Bay Area snagged eighth place with 915,000 square feet leased in Oakland.

Go deeper: More tech companies plan to let workers stay remote post-pandemic

Go deeper

The rebellion against Silicon Valley (the place)

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.

Top general: Calls to China were "perfectly within the duties" of job

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told the Associated Press on Friday that calls with his Chinese counterpart during the final months of Donald Trump's presidency were "perfectly within the duties and responsibilities" of his job.

Why it matters: In his first public comments on the calls that have prompted critics to question whether the general went too far, Milley maintained that such conversations are "routine," per AP.

The consumer's massive "war chest"

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Economists expect the pace of economic growth to cool off now that government transfer payments like stimulus checks and emergency unemployment benefits are in the rearview mirror. But evidence suggests that the U.S. consumer is sitting on a lot of financial firepower that could be a key driver of growth in the quarters to come.

Why it matters: U.S. consumer spending is massive, representing about 70% of GDP.

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