— Two of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman’s commercial real estate experts discuss what it takes to close transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic. —
West Palm Beach, Fla. – NAI/Merin Hunter Codman, Palm Beach County’s leading commercial real estate firm, acknowledges that commercial real estate transaction activity has slowed throughout the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic but the firm notes that it has not been locked down entirely. Two of the firm’s seasoned veteran brokers, retail expert Bruce Corn and office market specialist Adam Starr, have successfully completed nearly $10,000,000 in lease and sale transactions while most of South Florida’s shelter-in-place mandates remain in place. The secret to their success has been what they have always done… servicing their long-time clients with updated market intelligence and creative deal making options.
Long-time office veteran Adam Starr and retail expert Bruce Corn represent two different commercial real estate market sectors, but they have two things in common – expertise in navigating positive and negative market cycles, as well as long-term, trusted client relationships.
Local office market expert, Adam Starr, who joined NAI/Merin Hunter Codman in January 2020, just six weeks prior to the pandemic shutdown, has facilitated transactions in excess of $5.4 million on behalf of his clients, completing lease transactions in excess of $4.5 million and one building sale in Jacksonville, on behalf of a long-time local client, for $910,000, completed just last week.
Bruce Corn, who has led NAI/Merin Hunter Codman’s retail services for nearly 30 years, has completed both sales and lease transactions totaling over $5.5 million on behalf of his clients.
Good property management ensures happy tenants and owners while maintaining the value of real estate assets. We pride ourselves on our reputation of well-maintained and managed office, industrial, retail and corporate facilities.
How can we help you? NAI/Merin Hunter Codman is one of South Florida’s leading commercial real estate firms and the largest in Palm Beach County. We have over three decades of experience advising clients on strategic acquisitions and dispositions and providing landlord representation, tenant representation, property management, and construction management services. The firm has expertise in all commercial property sectors including office, retail, industrial, multifamily, hotels, and land. To learn more about our services click here.
Lesley Sheinberg, NAI/Merin Hunter Codman medical commercial real estate specialist discusses current trends in the local medical real estate market.
It’s no secret that the effects of COVID-19’s social distancing and shelter-in-place mandates have resulted in challenges for the commercial real estate market locally and beyond. One would think that medical properties would thrive during a health-related crisis. However, the real estate market is no more resilient than other sectors, and despite their high demand, not even medical properties are immune.
South Florida, a cited COVID-19 hot spot, put local stay-at-home and social distancing orders in place earlier and longer than other areas of Florida. The March 20, 2020 Executive Order prohibiting medical professionals from performing “unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedures or surgery” are just now being lifted. These orders resulted in patients refraining from visiting their local doctors for normal basic services as well as non-urgent matters. Simultaneously, urgent care and hospital providers themselves faced sharp increases in costs. The American Hospital Association’s recent report, Hospitals and Health Systems Face Unprecedented Financial Pressures Due to COVID-19, cited, “a total four-month financial impact of $202.6 billion in losses for America’s hospitals and health systems, or an average of $50.7 billion per month”.
As we all wait and hope for a return to normal and improving economic conditions, those making real estate decisions need to be cognizant of the near-term impacts on the medical commercial real estate market. These include:
A large number of leasing, acquisition and dispositions being put on hold;
Fewer previously planned developments being likely to break ground;
Fewer healthcare firm mergers and acquisitions are likely to take place.
On a positive note, healthcare should be one of the few economic sectors to accelerate staffing, and there may be increased funding available for research, facilities/equipment, and preparedness planning.
If your practice is at a point where you want to consider long term growth or resizing, this may be a prime time to:
a. Negotiate an advantageous lease rate for a longer term with better build-out concessions to accommodate square footage needs. b. Consider purchasing a property at a lower price point than prior to the pandemic, as many second quarter 2020 deals have fallen through or are on hold.
If your practice is struggling, my best piece of advice is to have an open and honest line of communication with your current landlord. Landlords are generally taking a realistic approach with clients that they believe will be assets to their properties over the long term. As a medical real estate specialist, I am happy to counsel my clients regarding their options including a lease review, and an identification of potential opportunities to expand, contract, trade-up, acquire or dispose of commercial real estate. Working with my colleagues at NAI/Merin Hunter Codman, we can utilize our expertise to assist tenants and landlords as they work through today’s challenges. Whether your question is big or small, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation.
To reach Lesley Sheinberg please call561-254-7810 or 561-471-8000.
Click here to view the article and video, originally published by WPBF.
More and more people are working from home because of the pandemic and that means fewer people are renting office space.
Real estate experts admit the future of the business is uncertain.
“The biggest problem in leasing office space right now is people’s inability to make a decision, because we just don’t know what the future looks like,” Neil Merin, Chairman NAI/Merin Hunter Codman.
Some in the industry say they see opportunities.
“I’d love to be a part of an office building that converted to medical,” Rebecca Giacobba, Team Leader Illustrated Properties, GIA Realty, said. “I’d love to be a part of a big group from New York that wants to get out of the city to invest in Palm Beach County.”
Giacobba said, nationally, rental rates are holding at about 88%.
Merin believes we will see people telecommuting and partially working in an office.
“Working from home has not been convenient for everybody, but right now one of the biggest problems with bringing the workforce back, forget about COVID, is kids,” Merin said. “Because kids are out of school.”
Click here to view the original article posted by Juniper Square.
Juniper Square’s Strategic Account Directors, Carrie Frugé and Jennifer Sutherland, recently spoke to three leading commercial real estate investors in Florida: Matt Adler, Founder and Managing Principal at Adler Partners; Daryl Shevin, CFO and Principal at 13th Floor Investments; and Neil Merin, Chairman at NAI/Merin Hunter Codman.
Proceeding with caution in uncertain times
Although the panel agreed that the Florida market has a bright future despite unknowns, they were also aware of the current realities.
Merin stated, “The buyers and 90% of the capital that’s out there are looking to see how cheap they can buy things. And that’s freaking sellers out. So sellers aren’t putting properties on the market.”
Buyers feel this is a huge bargain moment. “The way I see it, sellers think it’s January and buyers think it’s July,” said Shevin.
Getting through the current market environment
Merin said the “new normal” requires viewing tenant evaluations through a different lens. “Unless your tenant’s in the PPE supply business, they may not be your tenant next week. Underwriting is going to be a little different now, during this pandemic period. As we consider properties, we’re not just going to look at their financial statement. We want to understand—is this a business that holds up? In retail, six months ago, we used to look for Amazon-proof properties. Now we have to look for COVID-proof tenants.”
Another important tactic mentioned for getting through the downturn is frequent, detailed communication with investors to keep them informed and gauge their needs.
For Merin and his team, technology enables this. “Our primary tool of communication with our investors is Juniper Square. We bring everything into the portal. This allows us to pay monthly to our investors, and report monthly along with the return.”
Being proactive is the key, according to Adler. “You don’t want to be an event communicator. Regularly reporting makes you focused on being very transparent on what the facts are, and not just on waiting for something to happen. That’s a very dangerous game, if you’re waiting for that lease to be signed or that deal to close.”
Looking forward to what lies ahead
As America continues adjusting to life and business during the pandemic, Merin, Adler, and Shevin are rethinking how they approach building management. In addition to protocols such as social distancing, masks, and having ample supplies of hand sanitizer available, Merin cautioned to keep things in perspective.
“At some point, the pandemic will become a distant memory and we won’t have the same fears we do now. In the meantime, you have to observe the fear of the people who work for you, and the people you’re serving as your tenants. You need to be responsive.”
Shevin offered examples of how his business is shifting its residential staging model. “We converted one of our model homes so that the den had a home office. It’s very easy to tell someone, ‘You can make that area a home office.’ But when they walk in and they see the home office, and they see it all set up, it tells a different story.”
Many people love working from home, which is driving relocation from cities like New York to Florida. Merin expects this to continue as workers escape long and crowded commutes, high costs of living, and cold weather.
Merin also predicted that interest rates will continue to stay low, it’ll be easier to borrow money, and the trillions of dollars the government has pumped into the industry will ensure liquidity for the foreseeable future.
As Adler stated, “In 2008 real estate and banks were the catalyst of the financial crisis. This time, banks are part of the solution.”
The following is an excerpt from the original article which can be found here.
Ever since South Florida was pioneered in the 1800s, real estate has shaped the region’s economy. More than 100 years later – through depressions, recessions, and economic tumult – that continues to be the case.
The persistent force behind the local real estate market remains the property owners, developers and real estate brokers who power what remains a significant driver in the South Florida economy.
Though persistent, the individuals reflect the uniquely dynamic nature of South Florida’s real estate marketplace. While 39 are making at least their fifth appearance on the list, 15 are newcomers to the list. Most are frequently mentioned in the pages of the South Florida Business Journal, as they make their mark across the community.
As South Florida emerges from the fallout of recent events, these modern-day pioneers will be the ones who continue to shape the region’s economy and our future successes.