“Summer’s over…back to work…”
It’s a tongue-in-cheek phrase that’s been tossed around the Atlantic offices for as long as I’ve been here. Setting the broker jokes aside, summer is a fantastic time to work and get deals done for the end of the year. To me the saying has always meant a mental reset. Labor Day is more like New Year’s Day in the world of retail real estate, where you finish the year strong and prep for the year ahead. It had a nice rhythm. Back to school openings roll into holiday sales, NY ICSC transactions lead to spring openings and RECON Vegas. Rinse, repeat…as it’s been for years.
Gallons of proverbial ink have been spent on the impacts, short and long term, COVID-19 is having on the economy in general and retail real estate in particular. We’ve penned our own thoughts as well here and here. The long pause we experienced in the spring gave way to a gradual increase in activity as tenants and landlords sought both relief and opportunity. Our teams and their clients adapted to the new digital, socially-distanced world, and transactions have regained momentum. Some retailers are breaking records while others have been washed away by operational restrictions they never could have anticipated. Owners of real estate have done what they can to stabilize assets and secure new tenants where possible. While it feels as though a mental reset is needed now more than ever, the uncertainty facing our industry and our communities makes it difficult to plot a course forward.
Here at Atlantic, in addition to helping our clients navigate these uncharted waters, we’ve used this time to evaluate each of our markets, do our best to plan for the coming years, and accelerate our growth as a company. These moves work to strengthen the services and coverage we offer our clients.
In August we passed the one-year anniversary of our Atlanta office. Shelley Jordan Bell has worked hard, despite the challenges of the pandemic, to grow her team and their tenant rep and leasing services. Our presence in Atlanta was immediately beneficial, as the synergies between Charlotte and West Palm Beach gave our clients strengthened coverage throughout the Southeast. We remain bullish on the long term prospects of the region and are actively looking to grow in all three offices.
This past month, we announced the addition of Justin Smith to lead our Capital Markets team. Based in Boston, Justin joined us from Newmark where he was one of the leading capital markets advisors in the Northeast. He will be charged with adding to our existing investments groups in Charlotte and West Palm Beach and growing this service line throughout the Atlantic footprint. This move presents Justin with the opportunity to build a new venture, uniquely positioned to marry the tenant and leasing expertise of Atlantic with his team’s institutional knowledge of the capital markets landscape. This 360 degree perspective helps our clients build a comprehensive real estate strategy designed for all economic conditions.
As we head into the 4th quarter, we’re taking that mental reset. We’re looking at the growing crew around us and reminding everyone which direction we’re rowing: forward. We continue to evaluate our offerings, look for ways that we can better serve our clients, and clear paths into new markets. We’re taking stock of what the last 7+ months have wrought and turning an optimistic eye to 2021. While no one is certain what the coming months will bring, at Atlantic Retail we remain committed to our core values of providing diligence, insight, and top-tier service to our clients.