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December 16, 2020

These Projects Breaking Ground Next Year Show Developers Still Have High Hopes, At Least Outside The Loop

[Webinar] What Do Chicago Experts Expect The Timeline To Be For The Return Of The Office? Find Out Dec. 17

Construction sites across the Chicago region hummed with activity throughout the coronavirus pandemic, largely thanks to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s determination that such projects were key to sustaining the economy and his decision to not issue any orders stopping construction.

The bet paid off by keeping thousands of workers employed, but these projects, including the 101-story Vista Tower, the 55-story Bank of America Tower at 110 North Wacker DriveJDL Development’s 76-story One Chicago Square in River North and Sterling Bay’s 47-story mixed-use tower at 300 North Michigan Ave., all had financing in place, and developers were completing well-advanced plans.

Launching new projects in the midst of the pandemic and subsequent steep job losses is another level of risk, and many developers and lenders decided to hold off.

These Projects Breaking Ground Next Year Show Developers Still Have High Hopes, At Least Outside The Loop

Construction starts in the Chicago metro area totaled $8.9B in the first 10 months of 2020, a 23% decline from the $11.6B recorded in the same time period last year, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The decline was especially steep for residential construction, which totaled $3.4B so far in…

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The Pandemic Has Changed Apartment Touring For The Better And For Good

Multifamily property owners and managers haven’t always been quick when it comes to adopting the latest high-tech tools. But the coronavirus pandemic has changed that, and it will leave a permanent mark on the industry.

“This has caused a lot of forced change for the positive,” Kass Management Services principal Mark Durakovic said during Bisnow’s Multifamily Annual Conference Dec. 3. 

Allowing prospective tenants to take virtual tours is something that was technically possible for years, but it has only come into widespread use in the past few months, UrbanStreet Group Managing Partner Bob Burk said. That has made it far easier and more efficient to lease up properties, and Burk expects that it is just one of the new ways of doing business that will outlast the crisis.

“You’re seeing a lot less personal contact throughout the entire process,” Burk said.

The Pandemic Has Changed Apartment Touring For The Better And For Good

Durakovic said prior to the pandemic, his firm only leased a handful of apartments sight unseen. Now it is the norm.“We have basically changed the entire way we’re doing business,” he said.  That doesn’t mean the personal touch will be absent.“Renters still want to see an apartment before they fully commit,”…

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Origin Stories: Cohesion CEO Thru Shivakumar's Journey In CRE, Where The Product Is Easy But The Processes Are Not

 

This series delves into the myriad ways people enter the commercial real estate industry and what contributes to their success.

Thru Shivakumar spent about 13 years working on the capital side of real estate. Figuring out the processes and personalities of real estate was a challenge, as was often being the only female in the room when she worked for or with funds — at one point, she even left the industry.

But good mentors brought her back, though now with a whole new focus: Two years ago, she founded proptech company Cohesion, which provides an app owners and managers can use to do everything from manage smart building technologies to offer tenant experiences and perks like calling an elevator from your phone.

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'It's Not The Year To Cancel Christmas' — Pandemic Pain Isn't Stopping Property Managers From Decking The Halls

This may have been the year of widespread illness, social isolation, economic hardship and overall uncertainty, but property managers have made one thing clear: Christmas is not canceled.

Whether it is elaborate outdoor lighting, lobby decorations or interactive displays, property managers across all asset classes nationwide have still worked to deliver some holiday cheer even as they struggle with balance sheets and occupancy.

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7 Smaller Towns With Unusual Growth Strategies

It has been a grim year in many ways, but according to community revitalization expert Quint Studer, some small and midsized communities are showing remarkable resourcefulness in the face not only of the coronavirus pandemic but also longer-term economic forces.

The Studer Community Institute, a Pensacola-based organization that Studer founded and heads, recently recognized seven such places with Community Resiliency Awards. 

"Over the years, small and midsized cities have lost their talent to larger metros," Studer said. "Capital follows talent and talent follows place. Talent wants to be in a vibrant, healthy place. Creating healthier communities isn't something that takes a year or two. It's 10 years or more, and we were looking for communities that just got started and are trying to get some traction when it comes to their own improvement."

It has been too easy for smaller communities to simply think of themselves as victims when talent leaves, Studer said. In giving out the awards, the organization wants to recognize places trying to take control of their own destinies. Some workers, and the companies who employ them, are more open than before to locating away from larger, more expensive metros and working remotely. Resourceful communities might be able to capture some of that exodus.

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