CONCURRENT SESSIONS (SELECT B1, B2 or B3)
COVID-19's IMPACT ON OFFICE MARKETS: WHAT ARE KEY ISSUES THAT LANDLORDS AND TENANTS ARE ADDRESSING? WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Around the world, companies and people had to abandon their offices as governments mandated that employees work remotely from home. This was deemed as one of the critical measures to try to contain the spread of COVID-19. How have these protocols affected Canada’s 530 million sq.ft. office market? This session will examine a wide range of unprecedented issues that both landlords and tenants have been dealing as a result of the pandemic. The discussion will focus on a wide range of topics from both the perspective of office building owners as well as users.
- How have landlords responded to the challenges facing some of their tenants? Have rent abatements been widely requested and, in turn, offered?
- How has social distancing and remote working impacted coworking and conventional office environments?
- What steps respectively have landlords and tenants taken when they reopened offices and buildings?
- What permanent shifts may result from the impacts of the pandemic, e.g. will office floors, workplaces and buildings be redesigned, will demand and, in turn, rents decline as more people work remotely partially or fulltime, will location location location matter if remote working works?
- Is the subway as important as it used to be in office location decision-making?
- Will suburban offices or offices with high parking ratios be in greater demand?
- Will offshore remote office workers serve to reduce domestic office space demand?
Sheila Botting, Principal & President, Professional Services, Americas, Avison Young
Matt Kornack, Director, Real Estate Equity Research, National Bank Financial
Tim Low, Senior Vice President, Leasing, Allied Properties REIT
Bernard Poliquin, Chief Real Estate Operations Officer & Executive Vice President, Office & Industrial, Cominar REIT
Kim Riley, Executive Vice President, Investments & Developments, Artis REIT
Gord Wadley, Chief Operating Officer, Dream Office REIT
TRYING TO UNDERSTAND VALUATIONS AND THE INVESTMENT MARKET IN THE AGE OF COVID-19:
IS TRANSACTION ACTIVITY RETURNING?
One of the most significant issues that all commercial real estate mortgage lenders, investors, brokers and owners face today is being able to get a handle on property valuations.
- Have there been pauses in property financing while lenders evaluate the COVID-19 disruption and its actual impact on property cash flows?
- Has stress testing changed?
- Will tenant’s business – and not just its credit worthiness – now affect valuation?
- Has this situation had an impact on property liquidity? Interrupted and in some cases erratic cash flows, an uncertain economic recovery, coupled with a decline in investment activity have all made property valuation a challenge. Low transaction volume has eroded confidence in pricing new transactions.
- Are long term vacancy assumptions changing?
- Have there been defaults, loan losses and insolvencies?
- What is the new risk paradigm?
- When will adequate transaction volumes return in order to assist both valuation and pricing? What property types would likely be preferred?
- How much “dry powder” is available for real estate?
- Will the pension fund “denominator effects” be a factor?
- Will insurance availability or cost become a factor?
An important conversation will occur to try to provide some clarity during these uncertain times.
Colin Johnston, President, Research Valuation and Advisory, Canada, Altus Group
Sam Brown, Senior Vice President, Origination & Product Development, CMLS Financial
Jason Castellan, Co-Founder & CEO, Skyline Group of Companies
Dennis Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer & CIO, Starlight Capital
Tom Rothfischer, Partner, KPMG LP
THE GROWING IMPORTANCE OF KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS, DATA AND ANALYTICS: THE VALUE OF ESG AND OTHER BENCHMARK FRAMEWORKS
Performance related data is playing two significant roles in the REIT market. On the one hand, senior executives are using a wider range of information that enhances their strategic planning and all aspects of decision-making. At the same time, REITs continue to experience growing demand from all stakeholders to effectively disclose and manage their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. This session will examine the wide range of options being used including voluntary disclosure, guidance, and aggregated frameworks.
- What are the complexities of these various metrics?
- How are organizations using this information within their investment, development and asset management decision-making?
- How is it shaping an organization’s processes, policies and overall culture?
- What is the evidence that strong ESG practices coupled with public disclosure results in superior investment returns, e.g. higher rental income and lower interest expenses?
- What is the view of rating agencies, analysts and portfolio managers of ESG and KPIs? How have KPIs changed over the past year?
Steven Pacifico, Director, Sustainability & Innovation, Epic Investment Services
Andrew Moffs, Senior Vice President & Portfolio Manager, Vision Capital Corporation
Ben Mullen, Vice President, Asset Management, Minto Group
Teresa Neto, Chief Financial Officer, Granite REIT
Joe Solly, Partner, Sustainability & Climate Change Practice, Eastern Canada, Deloitte