Page 30 - BusinessWest April 27, 2020
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 noted that the pandemic has forced the closure of all kinds of businesses and severely impacted the cash flow of almost all others. And this has obviously made it difficult for some to the pay the rent.
Some tenants have requested deferrals or other forms of help, but others didn’t exactly ask. They essentially just took them.
“I have some tenants, large, strong companies, that have sent letters saying they have stopped all payments to all vendors, landlords, etc. — period,
“There was no
explanation, really, just
‘we’re strong and we’ll be
back, but ... we’re not
paying you.” KEN VINCUNAS
without any time frame,” said Ken Vincunas, president of Development Associates, which has co-developed and now manages a number of office and retail properties in Western Mass. and Connecticut. “There was no explanation, really, just ‘we’re strong and we’ll be back, but ... we’re not paying you.’”
Vincunas, who was in the process of writing e-mails to those at the top levels of those compa- nies saying that such tactics were “un-American, like hoarding, and not the right thing to do,” said many other large companies have been far more
diplomatic, with actual requests for 50% of rent payments, with offers to pay it back over the next six to 12 months.
Meanwhile, others we spoke with said they are working with tenants while also introduc- ing, or reacquainting, them with the phrase force majeure (more on that later).
But issues with collecting rent comprise just one of the many COVID-19-related challenges now facing commercial real-estate brokers and managers. Others include trying to do business
differently, with many people working remotely; a dramatic slowing of activity within the market as companies pause to assess the damage and debate whether to move forward with planned deals; and emerging concerns that, as time goes by and companies see the advan- tages to having people work at home, companies may adjust their needs for space downward in the years to come, creating more problems for building
“Businesses are getting a test run right now
with working from home,” said Plotkin. “And if that works for them, there’s a strong possibility they might want to continue that, which would create havoc in the office-leasing market — and the office-investment market.
“Everything flows from the occupancy of your building,” he went on. “If your building becomes less occupied, it’s worth less, the market value goes down, and it triggers all kinds of things that are not necessarily good for the office-business
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      30 APRIL 27, 2020

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