COVID-19 Trends of the Week: 5/15/2020

Is the office tenant base shrinking? Why the industry is watching Simon Property Group. Senior housing executives prepare to step up. These are the trends that shaped coronavirus coverage this week.

The disruptions brought on by the pandemic may trigger changes that will be lasting and fundamental. Some of those shifts will be positive for commercial real estate professionals and some will not. These are the trends that shaped coronavirus coverage this week.

  1. Work From Home Could Be Permanent For Some Employees.

Google and Facebook will allow employees to work from home until 2021 and Twitter said employees who enjoy working from home can make the arrangement permanent. It is not clear what the practical implications of such moves are for office property owners. Many of the tenants making these pronouncements are committed to large amounts of office space. And what about the ancillary businesses and public services that depend on the hustle and bustle that office workers generate?

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Tells Employees They Can Work From Home ‘Forever’—Before You Celebrate, There’s A Catch 

Manhattan Faces a Reckoning if Working From Home Becomes the Norm

Twitter’s Move to Permanent Work-From-Home is a Troubling Sign for Commercial Real Estate Post-COVID-19

Now that Twitter Employees Can Work at Home Forever, What’s to Become of its Headquarters?

2. How Secure is Mall Revenue in the Short and Long Terms?

David Simon
David Simon, Chairman & CEO, Simon Property Group

Simon Property Group’s announcement that it would reopen 77 malls was a sign of resilience for the company and the mall sector. But the country’s largest mall owner sent a more ominous message this week when it refused to disclose its rent collections for April in its first quarter earnings report and announced it was furloughing $1 billion in new development and redevelopment projects. Add to that a widely publicized analyst prediction that 50 percent of department store anchors will close by 2021.

What Simon Property’s Q1 Results Say About Retail’s Future
Commercial Property Executive

Why Mall REITs Like Macerich, Simon, and Penn REIT Fell Sharply on May 13
Motley Fool

Retail Woes Mount for Simon and Macerich
The Daily Beat

Over 50% of Department Stores in Malls Predicted to Close by 2021, Real Estate Services Firm Says

3. Senior Housing Communities May Have a Problem Filling Rooms.

With the high coronavirus rate in nursing homes and some senior housing communities, aging in place is looking like a safer alternative for some families. Telemedicine and other technologies are making that option more feasible than ever before. So senior housing executives know they will have to step up their games in testing, technology, design and marketing to convince seniors that living in group settings is a good idea.

Apps, Telehealth and Ramped-Up Testing: Senior Housing Adapts to New Normal 
Multi-Housing News

Coronavirus Hits Senior Homes — and Their Owners
Financial Times

Senior Living Industry Rethinks Building Designs, Improvises Solutions During Covid-19
Senior Living News

WSJ: Seniors Housing Could Face Big Vacancies With Telemedicine Available to Help With Care Needs at Home
McKnight’s Senior Living

Coronavirus Hits Senior Homes — and Their Owners
Financial Times