Monday, February 12, 2007

Rent An Office - Get A Bridge For Free

Let's say you are NOT an investment bank, hedge fund or private equity fund. You're not even a run-of-the-mill asset management firm, but a sole professional like a doctor, accountant or lawyer. You need some office space to house your business, around 1 500 sq. ft. (~140 sq. meters) - not a whole lot, but then again you are just now beginning to move up from the junior leagues. According to Bloomberg , this is how much you will need to pay in annual rent, on average:

Midtown Manhattan: $93 000
London West End: $318 000
Central Tokyo: $217 000
Hong Kong: $174 000

That's just rent, mind you. It does not include extras like a secretary, cleaning services and utilities. Add it all up and you're talking half a million dollars for London - per year. Certainly a dollar doesn't buy you much in London these days (and neither does one pound) but five hundred thousand of them should buy you more than a small office and someone to answer the phones for a year. And how about Tokyo, for chrissakes? I thought they were having deflation for the last century and a half and that the yen was in the dumpster. I must have been misinformed. I will make allowances for Hong Kong because it is a crowded place - though I fail to see the allure of renting space in a sardine can.

Ah, but look at Manhattan: a BARGAIN. Of course Midtown includes places like 40 St. at 9th Avenue where you need an up-armored Humvee after 8 pm, but still... for a measly $150 000 per year you too can have "NY NY 10001" printed on your business card, right above that prestigious (212) area code for your telephone. Oh, and did I mention that the federal government is planning to install radiation detectors at all city entrance points? So if a crazy is planning to detonate a dirty bomb in the vivinity, chances are the cloud will not reach your office - depending on prevailing winds, of course.

Tell you what, though... because you are such a nice person, if you sign a five year lease RIGHT NOW, I will also throw in this nice bridge you can see from the window. I know, I know ... it only goes to Jersey (ugh), but milk has to come from somewhere, right? And trust me, you don't want to move to London - you only get a drafty stone Tower as a bonus if you sign a lease there...

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