When Citrix opened its downtown Raleigh office in 2014, it was a major coup for the city. Flash forward less than 10 years later, and that same 170,000-square-foot building at 120 S. West St. now sits empty, with Wake County Economic Development and CBRE spearheading efforts to find a new lessee.
The arrival of Citrix, a large tech company, was a testament to Raleigh’s emergence as one of the Southeast’s leading tech hubs. Brad Corsmeier of CBRE’s Raleigh office said, “Citrix is what started the Warehouse District. Now it’s probably one of the more desirable areas in downtown.”
The uncertain fate of the building reflects the challenges facing offices in the post-pandemic economy. As companies downsize and adopt remote work models, large headquarters have become less appealing, leaving behind vast amounts of empty space in downtown areas across the country. In the Triangle region, vacancy rates skyrocketed to 17.5% in the first quarter of this year, according to CBRE.
Jesse Lipson, the current CEO of Raleigh startup Levitate and founder of ShareFile, acknowledged the changing landscape, stating,
“It’s definitely a new era… The employee headcount, overall, is definitely a lot lower than it was when I left in 2017.” Jesse Lipson
Despite this, ShareFile continues to operate and is striving to return to a growth trajectory.
CBRE’s Corsmeier expressed optimism about finding a new tenant for the vacant Citrix building, although he admitted that there aren’t many large companies currently seeking such extensive space.
Nevertheless, the building’s amenities, including its own parking deck, make it attractive, especially considering downtown’s limited parking options. Corsmeier anticipates improved leasing trends by 2025, citing the strong and diverse talent pool that has attracted companies like Apple and Google to the area.