Experts discuss effects of COVID-19 on real estate trends in Texas at digital summit
COVID-19 has caused more home owners to think about how to bring the inside out, experts said at the June 23 digital summit. (Courtesy of Hub Street)
Top Texas developers and investors discussed the post-COVID-19 real estate market and trends at the Bisnow Digital Summit on June 23
In five sessions throughout the day, industry experts delved into Texas’ vision for the future of what makes Texas so attractive to business, the future of mixed-use development, office tenants and multi-family development.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses can now fully open and people are returning to their offices, experts have said. However, many restaurants and businesses are still looking for workers to help them get back to business at full speed.
“The new normal is closer to the old normal than we thought,” said Frank Mihalopoulos, founder of Corinth Properties. “We have lost a lot of businesses and (…) some restaurants are not even open every hour they had. We noticed that some people don’t even open in the evening or on certain days for a very long time.
The pandemic has also shaped what people desire in their restaurants, workplaces and homes, officials said, with a focus on bringing the inside to the outside, Andrew Smith said. , president of McRight-Smith Construction.
“We are seeing a much greater use of outdoor space and flexible use,” he said. “It’s with movable partitions, windows to take out to places you typically wouldn’t see, and with a lot of our new developments, these are installed up front rather than being an afterthought when a tenant arrives. “
Part of this is equipment used to attract employees. The company headquarters can be set up in entertainment districts so that employees can explore their surroundings during breaks, whether it is shopping or eating nearby or strolling through a green space in nearby, officials said.
“The pre-COVID trend of mixed use and live, work, play is now more accelerated,” said Craig Hall, founder of The Hall Group. “In terms of people having the ability to recruit and retain employees was an issue before COVID, it’s a bigger issue now. Labor markets are essential.
The changes from the pandemic also include a focus on air quality for health and well-being, said Cindy Simpson, co-regional managing director of Gensler Architects. Her office has an air filtration system and operable windows, which she said was important for her team to return after the pandemic.
During the conference “The future office tenant: how will the construction, development and design of offices evolve?” Session, the developer panel agreed that most employers seem to relocate their workers to an office.
Brigitte Preston, interior design manager for Perkins + Will, said a number of companies have told her that the biggest demand from workers is flexibility in how often they visit the office.
“We’re sort of finding that three days in the office seems like the preferred length of time,” Preston said.
Chip Colvill, executive vice president of Cushman & Wakefield, said he believed companies allowing employees to work from home would be a short-term trend and offices would eventually “return to normal.”
“Most of the people I’ve spoken to are ready to go back to the office,” Colvill said. “You can’t climb the corporate ladder on a video screen. “
Building amenities remained important to office tenants, according to Dan Jones, senior executive vice president of asset management and construction at Hartman Income REIT Management, Inc.
“We’re trying to provide things that our tenants won’t have in their homes or in their home offices,” Jones said. “We are setting up cafes. We are adding games sections. We take advantage of our air-conditioned space.
Due to the decline in office use over the past 15 months, Granite Properties CEO Michael W. Dardick said he believes demand will pick up in the next year or so.
“We have as many job openings as jobs [that] were lost, ”Dardick said. “It’s going to come back a lot faster than a typical cycle. I think 2022 will be an exceptional rental year. I’m pretty optimistic about the Texas area.