COVID-19 Trends of the Week: June 8-12

Simon rattles retail. Waiting on the Senate. Is it safe to go back to the office? These are the trends that shaped coronavirus coverage this week.

The U.S. is officially in a recession, according to an announcement by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Commercial real estate professionals have known that for a while now, but the stock may be finally getting the message—the Dow fell 1,700 points on Thursday.

  1. More bad news in retail as Simon calls off Taubman deal.

Many retailers are struggling to pay rent, and there has been a general repricing of assets in the sector. It was no big surprise, then, this week when Simon Property Group announced it was ending its deal to buy an 84 percent stake in Taubman Centers. Simon asserted in a court filing that the Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Taubman had done little to mitigate the devastating impact of the coronavirus on its performance.  

Simon Property Scraps $3.6B Taubman Merger
Commercial Property Executive

Despite Essential Tenants Remaining Open, Shopping Center Landlords Saw 40% Drop in Rent Collections
NREI

Zara’s Owner Says It Will Close as Many as 1,200 Stores as it Doubles Down on Online Shopping
Business Insider

  1. Rent watch: Will the new relief bill pass in time?
U.S. Capitol photo courtesy of Ian Lee via Flickr

Rent collections have been relatively consistent thanks to stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits, but those relief measures are set to expire by the end of July, as is the forbearance for federally backed mortgages. If the Senate follows the House of Representatives and passes the HEROES Act—which promises more stimulus checks, an extension of the additional $600 weekly unemployment bonus and other housing and loan related measures—rents will probably continue to come in steadily. But will it do so in time?

When Benefits Run Out, What Happens to Rent Relief? 
Multi-Housing News

In a Surprise Move, State Courts Leave Coronavirus-Era Eviction Ban in Place
San Francisco Chronicle

NAR Urges Congress to Pass Emergency Rental Assistance for Housing Providers  
Housing Wire

3. Cities are reopening, but office tenants are not rushing back.

New York City and other major office hubs are getting ready to reopen, but reentry is expected to be slow. Tenants need time to determine how they can bring employees back safely and work-from-home arrangements can continue for many for the time being. Office building operators are working with tenants to help them assure their employees, with health concerns effecting changes in both building operations and lease terms.  

How Safe Office Reopening Strategies Are Reshaping Leases
Commercial Property Executive

New LEED Guidance Addresses COVID-19 Reopening Strategies
Facility Executive