In what has become (and will be forever remembered) as the Year of COVID, the commercial real estate sector is one of many industries that has been confronted with enormous challenges. Slowdowns, shutdowns, and necessary-but-punishing public health guidelines, have introduced unprecedented operational and financial challenges for landlords and tenants alike.
In an industry with so many creative and capable entrepreneurial minds, creative solutions and innovative adaptive measures have mitigated some of the financial impact. From a landlord’s perspective, it’s essential that some of that innovation is applied to finding new ways to connect with and support their tenants. Whether offering newly flexible lease agreements, introducing inspired new services such as office re-configuration and temporary storage, or playing a more active role in tenant marketing and communications, savvy landlords aren’t simply standing by and hoping for the best. Instead, they are proactively working to find new ways to support their tenant partners and navigate the pandemic until the vaccine-fueled 2021 economic resurgence.
Some of the critical ways landlords can make that happen include:
Adding new value
Recognizing the financial burdens many tenants are facing, some landlords have offered shorter, more flexible, and more forgiving lease terms. It’s exciting to see how some landlords have look beyond traditional incentives to find creative ways to add new layers of value for their tenants. Some landlords have begun offering expert office design and reconfiguration services, with guidance from experts on ways to optimize safety and public health. Others are connecting tenants with experts able to help tenants understand their evolving needs and engage in strategic planning about future spaces and designs. Some are also acknowledging and addressing financial and logistical challenges by allowing tenants to store assets on site, free of charge, before the tenant’s new lease begins and the formal move-in takes place.
Talking the talk
Another way proactive landlords are helping tenants is by picking up some of the load when it comes to marketing and messaging. From digital and conventional promotional signage in centers, to e-blasts, leading landlords are working with tenants to utilize their existing graphics and messages and get them in front of larger audiences. Some landlords are getting even more creative, connecting and collaborating with community partners to capitalize on cross-promotional opportunities, and to make the most of holidays and other special events programming. A select few landlords are even using the power of podcasting and other new media channels to add value. Here at Farbman Group, we have built an on-site podcasting studio in conjunction with a podcast production partner to provide valuable programming and airtime to our tenants.
The trading game
It’s fascinating to see that some landlords have turn back the clock, allowing tenants to pay all or part of their rent with a different kind of currency: specialized services. Evaluating, facilitating, and tracking those exchanges usually falls to a trade association or professional group that can set agreed-upon monetary values for services rendered.
COVID has changed so much. Things look very different now than they did 9 or 10 months ago. The way some forward-thinking landlords have adapted to this different landscape is encouraging—even inspiring. New ideas. New services. New solutions—defining the contours of new partnerships. The pandemic has clearly prompted some landlords to think differently about how to deliver value—and how to remain a flexible real estate partner during times of turmoil. The result of that innovative thinking seems likely to strengthen, and perhaps even redefine the landlord-tenant relationship for a long time to come.
If you’re interested in receiving a complimentary, no-obligation commercial real estate consultation, contact Farbman Group and get in touch with an expert today.