Part 5 in our recent conversations, Deb Bartlett and I continue to look for new ideas, positive news, ideas which may be helpful to our industry, CRE. It is generally our feeling that with the tsunami of bad news, the energy released will point us in new directions. That is the American way – to pivot towards new opportunities while we make sense of, and deal with, the current realities. Let’s try make some sense of what’s going on.
We continue to formulate plans. There is a need for analysis at every level while establishing dimension. What shape is it? How deep is it? How elastic is it? These are questions appropriately applied across the following product types: office, retail, multi-family, hospitality, industrial and student housing. Conservation and wellness are acute as everyone absorbs the global ties of the pandemic and the call for reform judicially.
Those questions lead to various solutions with respect to restructuring, redesigning and re-purposing. Innovative and adaptive re-use is already arising from the collision of events that have occurred recently, some of which were pending in any case. Examples include: C&W’s 6-foot initiative, many CRE firms’ space redesigns, updated sanitization processes, new furniture designs, and new traffic flow patterns, as well as full scale repurposing of retail malls and spaces.
My college roommate recently returned to a private school where she works. After closing in March, she returned last week and was the only person in the building. She said it reminded her of Pompeii. At first I thought she meant our dorm room and then I realized she was referring to the state of affairs at the school upon departure due to the virus. Wilted flowers were in vases, trash was in the cans, notes on chalkboards remained, there were pending St. Patrick’s Day decorations already hung.
There has been a definite pause. No one missed it. In fact, numerous articles have been written about the dangers lurking in idle (unattended to) properties. Systems requiring flushing and sanitization, installing systems and protocols for cleaning, signage to explain and direct employees and guests … the attention to every aspect of safe occupancy. One thing is clear: building engineers and cleaning staff have never been more important and valued as part of the assets’ value proposition.
Where we return and how we return is the subject of my continuing discussions with Deb Bartlett.
Best, Susan and Deb