Scott Lippert, partner at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden was quoted in Law360 article, “NJ Real Estate Deals in Chokehold Amid COVID-19 Lockdown.” The article explains how New Jersey is dealing with the Real Estate deals during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Pashman Stein Walder Hayden PC partner Scott R. Lippert was about to close on a restaurant lease for a landlord client when the prospective tenant just “disappeared,” he said, likely frightened off by the government-mandated social distancing that has all but crippled the dining industry in a matter of weeks.
Commercial real estate practice groups are now doing “triage” with respect to their clients’ matters, said Lippert, who chairs the firm’s real estate practice from its Hackensack, New Jersey, office. Right now, things are busy, as businesses rush to finalize what they can with a collaborative spirit, he said.
“It’s created a sense of urgency to close deals right now and not waste time squabbling,” Lippert told Law360.
But he and his colleagues are anxious about how the crisis will impact the Garden State real estate industry as a whole, and subsequently their practices.
Reflecting on his 40-year career, Lippert said the coronavirus could pack the economy with a harsher wallop than the stock market crash of 1987 and the Great Recession of 2008.
It was a different world in early March, when real estate professionals and attorneys were embracing the industry’s rebound since the subprime mortgage crisis sent the economy plummeting 12 years ago. The 2020 U.S. Outlook published by commercial real estate giant CBRE Group Inc. had predicted a “very good year” marked by “resilient economic activity” and low interest rates, among other positive harbingers.
Lippert predicts construction could “grind to a halt” for work that’s deemed nonessential. A construction slowdown will throw a monkey wrench into countless projects, including planned transit-oriented developments that appeal to millennials seeking convenient travel from trendy places like Jersey City and Hackensack to New York.
Looking ahead, the collateral damage from the coronavirus could have far-reaching consequences for the office and retail sectors of commercial real estate, according to Lippert.
The pandemic has forced many employees to work from home, and employers who find that system to be effective might think twice about how much office space they really need, Lippert said.
As for brick-and-mortar shopping, a pastime that’s been on the decline since the advent of online commerce, the coronavirus could be the death knell, according to Lippert.
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