Editor’s note: Is there shelter from the storm?

Editor's note: Is there shelter from the storm?

Apr.April 01, 2020 12:00 PM

Stuart Elliott

Our great gathering places have shut down.

Our lives are now defined by shelter in place, these four walls and a roof that separate us from other people (although, thankfully these days, many of us can connect virtually).

This is life in the time of the coronavirus, and in this issue, we look at what the pandemic has wrought for real estate, a story of such staggering scope it’s hard to know where to begin. When the governor calls for banks not to collect mortgage payments for three months, and that’s not the lead story, it’s the entire system that hangs in the balance.

Office and retail real estate is overwhelmingly shuttered, alongside hotels, while industrial real estate has taken on new importance as supply chains for food and medical supplies remain essential. And for those working in residential real estate — who could have ever imagined a term “location, location, location” would seem so grave. 

The stories in this issue also look at the layoffs and defaults that have begun to rattle the industry, alongside those who are pivoting their businesses to meet the new realities, as well as the deep-pocketed investors who are waiting for a bottom.

We  also examine what this means for the markets going forward. And we ask, what will our dense city look like after all this?

From 9/11 to the Great Recession, though, New York is used to being on the front lines. And the city is poised to lead the way for the rest of the country in the recovery this time around, too.

From finding locations for additional hospital beds to helping protect tenants,  real estate has an opportunity to shine, as it has in past crises. Everyone should remember that the industry’s image was at a low point politically heading into this calamity, and anything it can do now to help people won’t be forgotten.

At The Real Deal, we are rapidly adapting as well, rolling out a number of new features to keep the industry connected and informed.

In the middle of last month, we launched TRD Talks Live, where we host industry leaders via video conference several days a week at 5 p.m. Mary Ann Tighe, Scott Rechler, Steve Witkoff, Howard Lorber and many other titans of the industry have already joined us. Check out the lineup at the top of TheRealDeal.com.

Everything in real life is going digital these days, so stay tuned for virtual mixers, networking events, educational classes and other offerings we’ll be launching soon. There’s also “Second Take,” a new video discussion with editors and reporters about the biggest news of the day. And finally, we’ll be rolling out a new research product that will give readers detailed data sets and analysis beyond our news stories.

In addition, I want to give a shout-out for all the incredibly hard work our reporting, editing, research, marketing, sales, operations and design teams have done since the virus hit. Life may sometimes be quieter working from home, but the Zoom meetings and 24-hour news cycles have been relentless. This is going to be a time we all look back on later in our careers in journalism, and I’m really proud of how people have been hustling.

As we look ahead, can you imagine how fun the parties (and real estate events) will be when this is all over? To get together in real life? Even if it is months away, I’m looking forward to that day.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot more in the issue, including some great stories that are not related to the coronavirus. We’ve got an investigative story on the mafia trying to infiltrate New York real estate, by reporters Kathryn Brenzel and Eddie Small, that’s a must-read; a story on sales launching at the Waldorf Astoria condo conversion — not great timing there; and a look under the hood of an Adam Neumann-backed hotel startup that is drawing scrutiny.

Enjoy the issue and stay safe.

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