www.marej.com M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal — Industrial / Distribution Centers — May 29 - June 11, 2020 — 7A I ndustrial R eal E state & D istribution C enters What we can potentially expect for the Lehigh Valley CRE landscape moving forward Unprecedented Times… Hear this often? How our worldwas turned upside-down in amatter of weeks S other 8+ million square feet proposed. Moving Forward econd Quarter of 2020 started off with a bang. Stay-at-home orders, so-

According to the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corpo- ration (LVEDC), nearly 40% of the total Lehigh Valley work- force consists of essential em- ployees working outside their homes on the front lines of manufacturing, production, e- commerce, distribution, health care, pharmacies and other emergency and vital services. Many of these firms will out - last the coronavirus pandemic and the Lehigh Valley’s unique location should help it continue to garner tenant interest as the economy begins to recover. When Pennsylvania’s Gover- nor Tom Wolf announced that

construction activity could resume in the beginning of May, Lehigh Valley contrac- tors were ready. In fact, many of the region’s major construc- tion firms had already been continuing to work on projects deemed essential during the state’s shutdown. Others were largely prepared to resume on their projects once Wolf lifted the shutdown order effective May 1st, according to LVEDC. In result, most projects were able to move forward with minimal hiccups as the Valley has over 6 million square feet of industrial space currently under construction with an-

continued source of strength. Moving forward from the pan- demic, we may expect to see a shift in increased demand for U.S. based manufacturing & production, accelerating the trend away from dependence on global supply chains. In addition, many NYC and Phila- delphia based Office Tenants may look to leave crowded urban environments with re- newed interest in seeking proximity to their respective markets without being in the city. Through strategic innova- tion, opportunity will exist for continued on page 8A

cial distanc- ing protocols and quaran- tines quickly became the new norm in the wake of the Covid-19 p a n d e m i c . Professionals all over the

The solid and diverse base of the Lehigh Valley should limit the economic impact of the quarantine and recession. Current cornerstones including health care, manufacturing & production, distribution and e-commerce, will continue to grow in value and importance. Job creation in these growth markets will help absorb some job losses in other areas, as reported by LVEDC. The Lehigh Valley’s trans- portation infrastructure and labor pool is poised to be its

Sarah Finney Miller

globe are bringing business home, and while no one knows how long the home-life will last, we’re all trying to make the most out of this situation. But throughout all this uncertainly, the Lehigh Valley market has proven itself to be a source of strength throughout this pan- demic. Immediate Changes in the Lehigh Valley For NAI Summit, adapting was the key to keeping business afloat and running as usual, even in the unusual. Once the mandated shut down occurred, our brokers and property man- agers had to quickly readjust their schedules and work days. Shifting from the usual inspec- tions and meetings, everything became remote and technology has never been as useful for the real estate business than it is during Covid-19. But we weren’t alone. Lo- cal restaurants and retailers quickly shifted their business models to online ordering with drive-by pick-ups. Distilleries converted their operations into a production line for hand sani- tizer to help aid with the lack of supply. Local manufacturers began using their facilities to make face masks, gowns and protective shields which were provided to our area hospital front line workers. Bio-tech firms immediately began re- search for developing in-home Covid-19 testing and preven- tion vaccines. And the list goes on…The Lehigh Valley became one united in effort to protect its residents and economy. Overall Impact to Market Activity The Lehigh Valley com- mercial real estate market is well-positioned to weather the economic downturn expected to result from the coronavirus pandemic, according to CoStar research analysts. Historically and today, the Lehigh Valley is among the top 10 industrial markets in the U.S. and this crisis has only amplified that.

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