4 Takeaways: Commercial Real Estate and COVID-19

Monday, October 19, 2020
Panelists for the Dean's Leadership Series focus on the pandemic and commercial real estate

The Dean’s Leadership Series, the Belk College’s new online series, focused on the impact of COVID-19 on commercial real estate with a panel of Charlotte-based real estate leaders on Thursday, Oct. 15. 

Here are four takeaways from the session. 

1. Work collaboratively 

Jane Wu ‘07, president of Panorama Holdings, says it’s important to be proactive and work with tenants. 

“We proactively contact our tenants to overcome this challenge," Wu says. "To be compassionate but also loyal to our investors’ interests.” 

Having a strong balance sheet is a key to weathering all of the challenges right now. 

2. Strong performers will survive

Peter Fioretti, founder and chief executive officer of Mountain Funding, says the pandemic has separated innovative operators who excel from those who don't. 

“You’ll see better performers at all levels – from contractors, managers, asset managers, owners. Those who perform well will end up excelling in this marketplace,” Fioretti says. 

3. Charlotte remains a top market

Landon Wyatt, partner with Childress Klein, says over the past 10 years, most recent college graduates pick a city where they want to move and then find a job there. 

“Companies want to move where the people are moving,” he says. “I think Charlotte will benefit greatly by that dynamic.”

4. Uncertainty ahead in 2021

The panelists also looked at the uncertainty ahead in 2021. 

Fioretti: “We have to be prepared for another pandemic and focused on health and the way people behave. This will force permanent changes in the industry, which are all good.” 

Wu: “I hope we’re all learning how to handle a pandemic in a better way.  We will have to come up with a plan. We cannot survive in a totally locked down environment for too long. I hope 2021 will be a dust-settling year.” 

Wyatt: “2021 is a challenging year to figure out what is going to happen. Is it going to be worse than 2020? I don’t think so. ... Over the long run that we are in a very good market in Charlotte and certainly in the Southeast in general, and if you look over the next decade, which is an appropriate timeframe to think about for commercial real estate, I think things are not going to be just good, but great.” 

The session was moderated by Yongqiang Chu, director of the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate and  Childress Klein Distinguished Professor of Real Estate and Urban Economics.

The Dean’s Leadership Series aims to give back to the Charlotte business community and celebrate the college’s 50th anniversary.  The next Dean’s Leadership Series, “Managing Through COVID-19: What Makes Family Business Different,” will be at noon on Monday, Nov. 16. 

A recording of the presentation is available on our YouTube page