KIMC: Some Asset Classes May Not Recover From This Disruption

Social distancing could create some long-lasting cultural changes that will rock asset sub-classes like co-working.

Quote by Jonathan Needell  |

April 2, 2020

Social distancing may not end the moment that government restrictions are lifted. In fact, this pandemic could spark long-term cultural shifts in the way that we interact with one another. For commercial real estate, that may mean struggles for some asset classes or even sub asset classes, like co-working. Co-working is dense, by definition, and people might be weary of shared spaces following this health crisis.

“Co-working has finally seen something that is going to really hurt from a demand perspective because you are not allowed to aggregate the thing that people like about co-working,” Jonathan Needell, president and chief investment officer at KIMC, tells “That will cause some vacancy, and development will come off of its timeline for a lot of deals. Ultimately, you will see vacancy in office because of that.”

Retail is another asset classes that may see a lasting impact. Retail was already struggling to compete with online shopping, but this health crisis may accelerate that trend and gain new online shoppers. “Retail is a similar story, particularly for the small shop owners, fitness centers and restaurants,” says Needell. “Those will be tenants that landlords have to address in a pretty significant fashion. Unlike an apartment, the turn costs are much higher in retail. Potentially, the fact that we have had problematic retail for some time will accelerate the demise of retail that will happen in this coming recession.”

It isn’t all bad news. Needell says that multifamily and industrial are both well positioned to weather the storm. “I think the asset classes to perform well here are industrial and multifamily compared to everything else,” he says. “Look at the other sectors and what they represent with regard to risk.”


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