The effects of the COVID pandemic have been unprecedented. Most notable are the personal stories of those who have been affected through illness, death, the loss of a job, or other catastrophic occurrences.
The real estate industry and general business community have also experienced considerable impact. Among the industry’s biggest wins have been businesses related to e-commerce, companies offering innovative solutions and connections, and grocery stores/grocery-anchored retail. Some of the biggest losses have been high rise office buildings, entertainment-oriented retail, and most businesses in, or related to the travel industry such as airlines and hotels.
Next Realty and its properties have also experienced wins and losses. Following is a description of some of our ups and downs during the early months of the pandemic.
W: The Shops at Flint Creek – This center located in Barrington, is home to a Heinen’s Fine Foods. This grocery store has experienced a significant increase in traffic, which translates into sales, which is positive for the overall center and the overall value of the property because of the way the lease terms are structured.
W: Oak Lawn Promenade – Amid the pandemic, Next Realty worked diligently to complete two new leases and one tenant relocation at the 32,274-square-foot center:
- OSF Health Care leased 3,880 square feet to use as an urgent care center to provide essential services to the community.
- Wingstop opened a new 1,512 square foot quick service restaurant offering take-out and delivery, as well as indoor dining.
- Fantastic Sam’s hair salon moved to a new 1,280 square foot location.
W: Roosevelt Plaza – At this center located in Lombard, Next Realty has completed a lease with Louisiana Crab Shack. The lease was finalized at the beginning of the pandemic and buildout occurred during the summer and early fall. Louisiana Crab Shack brought the center to 100 percent occupancy.
L: Kingsbury Center – With tensions already at a boiling point, Chicago and many other communities across the country felt the impact of the social unrest that occurred across the nation. The ramifications of that unrest touched Kingsbury Center, our property at 350 W. Hubbard Street, in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Windows were broken at CVS and the former 3 Greens Market location. While minimal looting took place, thousands of dollars of property damage occurred. Next Realty has since made all necessary repairs.
L: Vandalism – Isolated other properties also experienced graffiti and other vandalism. Thankfully, no one was injured in any incidents at Next properties.
L: Tenant Concessions – There have been additional financial ramifications to properties within the Next Realty portfolio in the form of rent relief and negotiated payment plans, as some of our tenant’s businesses struggled with losses. In some cases, transactions advantageous to Next were negotiated as rent relief was exchanged for extended lease terms.
The financial toll gave us reason to take pause and consider how we can best support and stand behind our tenants. We continue to work with them to provide the space, environment, compassion and understanding they need to do their business, while remaining true to our fiduciary responsibility to our investors.