The "Faria-limers" are returning to offices with a higher rent tag

Birmann 32 is a 125-meter high steel and insulated glass giant on the corner of Faria Lima and Leopoldo Couto de Magalhães Street. The B32 has 57 thousand square metres for lease on 25 floors. The corporate building, considered the most modern in São Paulo, was designed by the Chinese architect Chien Chung Pei, or Didi Pei, from the Pei Partnership Architects. Didi is IMPei's son and worked with his father on the Louvre's glass pyramid projects in Paris, and the east wing of the National Gallery of Art, in Washington. Unlike other urban-isolated buildings in Faria Lima, Birmann 32 faces the surroundings, with a square and theatre open to the public. It was delivered in July last year when there was still no vaccine available.

"There was, of course, a bit of apprehension that some contracts might not be completed because of all the uncertainty about the pandemic, but that didn't happen. We were very well received", said Rafael Birmann, the developer who raised the B-32, in an interview with Bloomberg Línea.

It is estimated that the building has mobilized R$ 1.2 billion in capital to be built on the market. Out of the 25 floors, there is only one still available for lease (R$ 235/sq metres), and the largest occupant being Facebook, with almost half of the leasable slabs.

In the B-32 square, a statue of a metal whale is under construction (life-size) – a metaphor for Jonah, a character dear to Jewish and Christian traditions, for having been swallowed by a whale and then reborn to a new life. In a way, the whale on the B-32 is a metaphor that also serves Faria Lima's real estate market. After being engulfed by a crisis that emptied offices during the pandemic, the reoccupation increased as vaccination accelerated. After over 100 million Brazilians vaccinated, real estate asset managers in the region see two metrics recovering: vacancy is dropping, and rental prices are rising.

The Faria Lima region is geographically a rectangle of about 450,000 square meters, between Avenida 9 de Julho and Rua Elvira next to JK. Equivalent to a third of the area of Ibirapuera, there are 26 high-end projects with just over 465,000 sq metres and the cream of Brazilian capitalism.

Last year, with the pandemic, the price of leases in A+ and A-class buildings in the region was around R$165/sq metres. According to data from SiiLA, at the end of September, the average asking price at Faria Lima was R$ 183.88/sq metres - it is almost double the asking value per sq metre in buildings of the same category as the average for other corporate regions in São Paulo (R$95.05).

At iconic Faria Lima buildings, some leasing deals have been closed at a level above R$ 230/m2 in recent days.In September, Blue Macaw and Catuaí Asset bought six of the 18 floors of the famous Patio Victor Malzoni (9,500 sq metres). Of these, four floors are leased to Google and the other two to various tenants. The transaction involved R$350 million. The building is also home to the BTG Pactual headquarters.