2C — December 27, 2019 - January 16, 2020 — Year in Review 2019 — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


Y ear in R eview 2019 By Eric Weston, Sheldon Gross Realty From Transactional to Strategic


hen the calendar flips from one year to the next, many

is changing – transform- ing might be more accurate – to a degree that makes the conventional practices of counting numbers and study- ing projections seem decid- edly outdated. Because, as we move into 2020, commercial real estate has become far less transactional. Increas- ingly, we’re a sector in which strategic thinking determines who succeeds. There are two recent ex- amples that I believe perfectly highlight the nature of this transformation. First, there’s American Dream – the massive, fre-

quently-delayed project just a few miles outside midtown Manhattan, in the heart of New Jersey’s Meadowlands. It’s a clear illustration of how dramatically the concept of a retail space has changed since the 1960s and ‘70s, when so many traditional, indoor shopping malls were con- structed. That old model of multiple stores surrounding a food court has been failing for years, at the expense of many owners, investors, and those in our field. The fact that 21st century retail loca- tions like American Dream also need to offer multiple

entertainment-focused op- tions can be viewed as disrup- tive to the status quo. But, to varying degrees, disruptions frequently grow into oppor- tunities. As commercial real estate professionals, we need to embrace that “mixed use” centers – retail, combined with entertainment and per- haps some residential space – now provide us the straight- est path toward success with shopping venues. Next, there’s WeWork. It’s been a noteworthy experiment in terms of commercial space utilization …while also dem- onstrating that some careful

a section of the Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal 350 Lincoln Street, Suite 1105 Hingham, MA 02043 P: 781-740-2900 • fax 781-740-2929 www.mare j.com Publishers Linda Christman lchristman@marejournal.com Joe Christman jchristman@marejournal.com Lea Christman lea@marejournal.com Steve Kelley skelley@marejournal.com Kim Brunet kbrunet@marejournal.com Editor Karen Vachon editor@marejournal.com The Year in Review 2019 Spotlight There’s no doubt that many business sectors are experi- encing rapid change – this seems to be the nature of things in the 21st century. That said, my sense is that with commercial real estate, we’re approaching a truly watershed moment, with multiple, significant changes occurring almost simultane- ously. I’d strongly recom- mend we view this potentially unsettling situation as an opportunity, since those of us disinclined to adopt a consis- tently strategic approach to our activities will risk falling hopelessly behind. Eric Weston is vice presi- dent of Sheldon Gross Realty.  thought is still necessary in terms of space-sharing. Nev- ertheless, while the idea of common workspaces and ser- vices isn’t adaptable to every environment or organization, it’s potentially well-suited to many a small business, as well as those with multiple remote workers. So, this concept cer- tainly will continue evolving, new models will arise, and there’s no doubt that building owners already are watching with great care. As they come to realize that their utiliza- tion or conversion of a build- ing can increase income and long-term stability, some of our most important client re- lationships may be impacted. What’s most important is that we strategize in preparation for inevitable changes.

of us are in- clined – per- sonally and profession- ally – to take stock. How d i d we do during the past dozen m o n t h s ? What are our prospects for the coming year? But when assessing the commercial real estate field, there’s a further complica- tion to consider. Our industry Eric Weston

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