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Landlords Are Investing Heavily In Coronavirus Detection, Prevention

A slide from workplace management platform Eden's "12-Point Plan for Workplace Re-entry"

As the coronavirus keeps millions of workers at home across the country, office landlords and property managers are spending big to convince tenants that their buildings are safe.

CBRE's property management arm and office landlords like New Jersey-based Onyx Equities are hiring for positions created specifically to monitor and encourage compliance with social distancing measures, CoStar Group reports. Onyx has already hired four "experience ambassadors" to make sure that no more than two people ride in the same elevator, for instance.

Crocker Properties has gone so far as to hire a doctor, Walter Okoroanyanwu, who has a background in public health administration and now oversees the Florida landlord's reopening of its portfolio, CoStar reports.

But the push to keep office buildings relevant to today's workforce is going beyond creating new jobs.

Onyx has recently installed thermal cameras in the lobbies of Gateway Center, a three-building office complex in Downtown Newark that it purchased last year, CoStar reports. The cameras can detect body temperature from 6 feet away, a more seamless process than a forehead scan of each individual.

Some companies have been looking into ways to beef up their HVAC systems so that they can filter out viruses. Such measures are often costly; Onyx is spending between $50K and $70K in health-focused upgrades for each building in Gateway Center, CoStar reports. Losing out on tenants that don't feel confident in a building's safety is even more damaging to a landlord's bottom line, Crocker Partners Managing Partner Angelo Bianco told CoStar.

Eden Health, which was founded five years ago to be a concierge for employee health benefits, announced on Friday the launch of a new amenity package for landlords focused on wellness and disease prevention. Eden would outfit rooms in an office building to conduct primary care exams and even on-site lab testing for the coronavirus under its new offering.

“Landlords and their tenants are now in the business of delivering healthcare, whether they want to be or not," Eden said in a statement provided to GlobeSt. "Access to telemedicine, or virtual primary care, is no longer seen as an employee benefit, but a new necessity.”