When Covid took a firm hold of the world in March 2020 everything came to a standstill. For those not directly impacted health wise by the pandemic, people sheltered in place, ordered in food, and watched untold hours of News, Netflix, and any other movie and tv app they could find. For business owners this period was devastating, not only from the perspective of the health and safety aspect of themselves and their employees, but also how to handle the never-ending flow of expenses and a complete decline of income. As the pandemic raged on, one of the last line items on the owner’s expense list was paying rent for retail centers, and even further down the list was even the thought of business travel to a hotel.
Who can blame them? Throughout 2020 daily newsfeeds showed contamination and death with no clear guidance of when it would be in our cities and what was going to happen to us or to even our most basic resources like grocery supplies. Who would have ever thought that toilet paper could be a used as a gift? (My wife’s friends brought over 2 rolls for her birthday last March, as they sat 10 feet from each other on the driveway drinking wine from their own bottles and wondered if this was the new reality). Our lifestyles changed overnight from want to need, from travel to shelter and from excessiveness to resourcefulness. For commercial property owners, no business meant no rent and limited, if any, ability to pay debt service. As a CMBS lender for over two decades, I had a front seat to witness the struggles and hard work that owners endured to maintain stability at their properties.