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Posted 03 May 21 By: No comments yet

CRE Insights from Office Director, Shelly Branscom, CCIM

by Shelly Branscom, CCIM 

Are we clean enough?

Striking the right “clean” balance is critical as we are all coaxed back to public spaces at the office, church and school.  When the pandemic initially hit, an abundance of caution was a good idea.  However, going forward, property managers and landlords are focusing on altering sanitation and cleaning protocols to take into account updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.  As you might guess, the focus has shifted toward air quality and circulation as opposed to deep surface cleaning and changing attitudes.

At the onset of the pandemic, the so-called cleaning theater took center stage as worried property owners invested in deep cleaning and sanitation services while adding additional sanitation services.  Facilities Management Company, ABM, suggests client seek “higher value-added services” to meet new “hyper-vigilant” cleaning environments.   Although one might think there were extra costs associated with cleaning office buildings, the truth of the matter is, because so many employees worked from home, janitorial companies report roughly 20% of regular customers cut services when their facilities were locked down.  Many are now slowly starting to resume normal services.

Office Redesign and Systemic Shift

Many companies have planned to redesign offices to accommodate more common areas and collaborative spaces requiring policies and procedures around cleaning and sanitizing will be crucial as working re-adjust to shared workspaces once again.  Over-communication about new office policies from mobility plans to hybrid schedules to how safety and sanitation is being addressed, will fall on the shoulders of employers nationwide while keeping employees interested in being productive at the office.

A commercial real estate company in Florida has indicated they are witnessing concerns over sanitation as well as larger macro-trends pushing for smaller offices.  This trend had contributed to shift leasing demands toward smaller office buildings.  “There’s a systemic shift from large, institutional offices towards free-standing, low-rise offices that have their own AC systems and more access control.”

Let the suburban office locations thrive!!  This will enable markets such as Albuquerque to continue to sell and lease our condominium development projects as well as our smaller single story office buildings.  We are already seeing multiple offers on commercial sale assets.  Tenants who wanted to purchase have not found existing product they are interested in purchasing.  As such, these Tenants are in search of office space to lease.  Although initially one would think this will impact the lease rate vacancy in Albuquerque; I caution over the next 3-5 years, we will gain sublease space from those office users who have decided other options are working for them.

In conclusion, if there’s one thing we learned from 2020, we don’t know as much as we think we know.  Don’t be surprised if, in a couple of months we find out there is more cleaning and sanitation protocols we’ve not yet discovered, and the office redesign could look more like a Tenant’s lease renewal and renovation to a their existing leased space.

Shelly Branscom, CCIM is an NAI SunVista commercial real estate specialist who provides substantial long-term strategies and business planning services to her clients.  She prides herself on thinking outside the box, enabling her to contribute unique solutions and outcomes specific to each of her clients.  Learn more about Shelly and her listings.   

NAI SunVista is a full-service commercial real estate company serving New Mexico since 1996. The company is a dynamic commercial real estate firm offering best-in-class real estate services in brokerage, property management, asset management, business brokerage and development services.

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