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ULI Observations & Opportunities During Coronavirus 4.20.2020

Originally posted for ULI Arizona

Observations and Opportunities ULI Arizona

From Our Members’ Perspectives . . .
Join us each week as ULI Arizona leaders and members share their experiences and perspectives in this ever-changing world. Their views represent various real estate industry segments and delve into both professional and personal thoughts and ideas in this snapshot in time, and what positive opportunities can be found today, and in the future.

Observations:
I recognize the irony that my thoughts, during a time of social distancing and working from home, have turned toward relationships. Funny how the sudden absence of day-to-day contact with business colleagues, coworkers, friends, and even family can shift your perspective to what matters most.

While everyone is still a bit raw and the road ahead uncertain, it is gratifying to see that people are doing whatever they can to help one another. Business moves on at whatever pace it can. Some transactions go forward, while others freeze in place till the time is right. I am impressed, and quite frankly humbled, by my employees, tenants and vendors, all of whom are showing the discipline to do the right thing and remaining highly productive in their work.

From cultural and social perspectives, it seems like we are all rethinking the way that we do things—particularly now that we have viewed the world through the lens of Zoom and the comfort of life in a notch below business casual.

Opportunities:
In good times, relationships matter. In times of crisis and disruption, they are what get us through to the other side. Real estate exists, to an extent, in natural tension: tenants and landlords, buyers and sellers, borrowers and lenders. It is the realm of the deal.

In that respect, it makes me incredibly hopeful to see how many people have taken a step back from the usual rough-and-tumble, to value and solidify their relationships. I have seen landlords being willing to assist their tenants with lease deferrals or waivers when their businesses are suffering, as well as tenants who have made good on their responsibilities when they could have taken the easy way out. I thought it was fantastic when RED Development created a program that reimburses employees for takeout orders from their tenants. In the hard-hit multifamily sector, Camden Property Trust created a $5 million Camden Cares Resident Relief Fund, waived late fees for rent, implemented a moratorium on evictions, and sent out renewal notices with no rent increases. And look at our banking community hustling to process Payroll Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program loans as fast as humanly possible—creating a much-needed lifeline for Arizona businesses.

People will not forget how others stepped up to help them in these challenging times. Using our renewed awareness of relationships, both business and personal, will serve us well even once the novel coronavirus becomes just a small, spiky dot in the rearview mirror.

________________________________________
Beth Jo Zeitzer, Esq.
President and Designated Broker
R.O.I. Properties

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