“Keys? Check! Wallet? Check! Mask? Check?”. These are questions that each one of us has to now ask ourselves, as we head out of the house.
As the COVID-19 begins to settle, we head into our “New Normal”. If someone had mentioned that phrase to me 4 months ago, I would have thought they were referring to the short-lived 2012 NBC sitcom, “The New Normal”. Yet, here we are in our “new normal” entering Phase 2 of our COVID-19 reopening. This stage allows for fitness centers, recreation activities, and indoor restaurants to reopen at 50% capacity. All very exciting for us Marylanders who have been stuck in our homes since March 16th. While we have seen so many of our great restaurants and businesses adapt to the Stay-At-Home order, we are all wondering what the recovery and rebound are going to look like. I am no psychic, so I can’t tell you the future, but what I can offer is how commercial real estate has started to rebound, since Maryland, specifically Frederick County, entered Phase 1.
It is no secret that Frederick Commercial Real Estate felt the immediate impacts of the mid-March shutdowns. Personally, we had 4 strong leases days away from signature, when COVID-19 hit. All of a sudden, our strong start to Q1 had come to a complete halt. We had clients under contract who were worried about how things would progress through their sales period. It was a whole new situation for us all. This wasn’t the same as the real estate crash in 2007/2008. This was something different. After speaking with a few of my fellow commercial agents, within MacRo and other companies, we all quickly figured out how to guide not just our clients but ourselves through this period. We discussed how to help those tenants, who had completely shut down their businesses, in conversations with their landlords. We talked to our landlords on how to manage tenants who had been greatly affected by this pandemic. For those tenants and buyers in waiting, we comforted them that they can rest assured this would not last forever.
Lucky for us commercial agents, we were right! Whew! As the weeks have progressed, and thanks to so many who are following the recommended orders, we have seen our industry do a complete 180 from March 16th until now. New tenants are preparing to sign leases and open businesses. Landlords are starting to see tenants able to pay partial rents and progress in their businesses. New COVID-19 language has been added to leases and sales deals to protect all involved parties. The commercial inventory is slowly rebounding, and new acquisitions are in the works. It may not be fast, and it may not be easy, but we are recovering!
I would like to end this by commending ALL the businesses that have made adjustments through COVID-19. In Downtown Frederick, the restaurant and small business owners did not let this take them down. It slowed them but did not defeat them. While I can’t predict the future, I do know our community. We will come back better and stronger than ever!
Ashleigh Kiggans, Vice President, joined the MacRo team in 2015. She plays a key role within the organization, assisting the leadership team across a wide range of initiatives, including market research, data analysis, client communications, and marketing while assisting with the sales and leasing transactional process.