Some of Canada’s most prominent commercial real estate players are tackling the challenge of COVID-19, asset class by asset class, with their industry organization, REALPAC, quarterbacking the effort. As REALPAC’s advocacy team actively reaches out to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, working groups have been struck for each property sector to respond to and strategize about the cascade of issues that investors, owners, managers and tenants are now facing.
“A mere 100 days ago, no one had heard of coronavirus. Today, as a result of COVID-19, more than half our planet is under some version of a lockdown. All our personal and industry priorities have changed,” observes REALPAC chief executive officer Michael Brooks.
In a newly released message to members, Brooks stresses the need for constructive solutions to help fulfill people’s critical, immediate needs and to ensure that commercial real estate sector remains a strong employer and contributor the Canadian economy through its vast interconnected network of financial, development, managerial and operational disciplines. That’s particularly focused on easing stressors in the multifamily, retail, hotel and seniors’ housing sectors, along with arising issues for lenders and open-end real estate funds.
“We are seeking collaboration from federal and provincial decision-makers to ensure the stability of the rental market through considering the interests of tenants as April 1st approaches. It is vital that tenants have access to the assistance they need to pay rent on time in order to avoid volatility in the apartment and multifamily sector in Canada,” Brooks reports. “The closure of shopping centres and most other forms of retail will have significant and far-reaching economic impacts. We have begun policy conversations with municipal partners that centre on supporting the retail sector and minimizing impacts to tenants and businesses.”
REALPAC staff are also working to keep the industry informed and lines of communications open through ongoing collaboration with other industry associations and stakeholder groups, and vigilant monitoring of new developments. “We encourage all members to share their perspectives and policy recommendations with us going forward,” Brooks affirms.