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Washington D.C. is beating New York City in at least one thing: Keeping our office buildings bustling.

In the past year, New York office rents have dived more than 18 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal, and vacancies are at 11.4 percent.

Figures like these prompted New York Magazine to recently envision reusing vacant city offices as transformed artist spaces, proclaiming the cubicle “the new loft.”

Let your imaginations run wild:

What if some smart landlord decides to rent his office space to low-income artists, and turn a blind eye to those who spend the night? What if those tenants start appropriating the visual language of the office space (cubicles, carpets, fluorescent lighting) in ways that became, well, inhabitable?

That’s nice—-if not all too familiar sounding.  Art communities have already popped up in foreclosure heavy areas in Cleveland and Detroit, andthe concept kind of reminds me of Artomatic.

And truth be told, while New Yorkers may be freaking out, their city’s actually not doing too bad, relatively speaking.

According to a new report out today, New York possesses the third lowest vacancy rate in the nation, just behind Washington D.C.’s 10.9 percent vacancy rate, the Washington Business Journal reports.

Image by Knoxville Museum of Art, Flickr Creative Commons