A current worldwide view of commercial real estate is the recovery underway?
A few weeks ago, as a part of an international meeting of lawyers and accountants, I participated on an international panel discussing the future of commercial real estate law. The worldwide perspective was interesting and highly varied. Overwhelmingly, attorneys, accountants, and their clients continued to work from home. In parts of Europe, those trickling back to the office were informed that a new wave of shutdowns was likely and that they should return home. Aside from the obvious stresses of working from home, no one seemed to mind very much. As for the future of commercial real estate, the circumstances were varied, and without any perceptible sense of what the future may hold. However, universally, there is both good news and bad news. Savvy investors have capital to employ and are actively searching for the best deals. The general consensus was that the retail industry will have the longest road to recovery. The decline in brick-and-mortar stores, already in progress due to online shopping, has been accelerated by the pandemic. This trend translates directly to burgeoning legal issues caused by increased vacancies in large retail malls. Internationally, all of my colleagues have seen a dramatic increase in lease modifications, financial restructurings, landlord-tenant litigation, tax appeals, and unfortunately, bankruptcies. However, smaller retail centers anchored by the dollar store, pharmacy, or supermarket, have been holding their own.