Friday, December 4, 2020

We’ve MUCH for Which to be THANKFUL!

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As a craft this column from my garage office exile - my thoughts immediately drift toward today’s date - Friday the 13th? Yes I know, you’re reading this on the Sunday before Thanksgiving - but nonetheless. Historically, a day portending bad luck; but as I gaze to the east at the glorious blue sky - I realize I am a very lucky guy! And speaking of the Season of Thanks - much for which to be thankful. After all, with the Masters tourney resuming play yesterday - what could be better? Sure, our nation has taken its licks this year. But, as proud Americans - we are resilient.

Commercial real estate - depending upon the segment - has been crushed during the year of the Pandemic. But, I believe we are a hearty bunch capable of similar resiliency. Commissioned sales is not for the squeamish. Those of us who’ve survived a few peaks and troughs understand this excruciatingly well.

Please indulge me as I recount a few of the blessings for which I’m grateful this year.

I’m an industrial specialist. As I’ve written ad nauseam, our sector of commercial real estate is en fuego! Manufacturing and logistics spaces have continued to be the darlings. Office space, retail storefronts, and multi-family - not so much. Plus, we generally see a bit of a reset during an election year. Typically, owners and occupants of commercial real estate postpone major decisions on long term commitments until after direction is clear with a new administration. When activity slowed to a trickle this spring and with a contentious election season looming - I braced for impact. We also figured a recession was due because we’d not experienced a downturn since 2009-2010. As economic expansions generally run 7-10 years - and we were approaching 11 - I feared the “perfect storm” was massing. Our office was also at rapt attention. Operating cash was preserved, long term commitments postponed, and staff furloughed. A happy ending was forged for which we are thankful. After a temporary pause in March-May, our demand returned with a vengeance mid-summer. We are on pace for our best year yet!

None of our immediate family has contracted the “Rona”. As a matter of fact, I don’t know anyone locally whose had a bout. Maybe those masks do work. We shuttered our office in mid-March. Only, reopening in August. Many of us still enjoy the freedom of a virtual practice.

Working from home has enhanced relationships. I’m closer to our two year old grandson than any of our other kids and grandkids. Don’t confuse. I love them all equally. But, I’ve been present for over a third of his life. Early on, there was no place to go, I was working from home - wherever I could steal some quiet - so he’s grown up with me there. We’ve both have benefited. Not to mention. Nap time is great! For me - not for him. We shall see how workplaces evolve. I suspect companies will maintain space but with greater flexibility for a virtual workforce and enhanced safety measures.

Despite its warts, America is the greatest country on the planet! This year has been riddled with election mishaps, divisive rhetoric, a departure from civility, and declination of our freedoms during this time of crises. But, we are free to choose how we spend our days. We live in a beautiful place with amazing weather.

It’s DARKEST. Many, many have suffered the loss of loved ones, industry disruption, demolition of the status quo, interruption of gainful employment, the insanity of staying at home while attempting to work and keep little ones engaged in something productive, and face an uncertain future. Yes! All of those and more. But a new dawn is coming. We will emerge better than before. I guarantee it! What can we expect from owners and occupants of commercial real estate in 2021. That, dear readers, you’ll be thankful to read next month.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at or 714.564.7104. His website is

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