COVID-19 could cause trouble for Nashville’s commercial real estate market


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As the work from home experiment wages on, some say, it’s here to stay. It comes after social media giant, Twitter announced employees can work from home indefinitely if they so choose.

If and when other companies follow suit, this could mean trouble for Tennessee’s commercial real estate industry.

​​”I think what we’ll see is a lot of employers who were hesitant to go with work from home, they’ll say ‘hey this isn’t so bad,’ so I don’t invasion anyone getting rid of their offices but I can see potential of them reducing the size of their offices,” said Ryan Turbeville, Director of Commercial Real Estate at the Ashton Real Estate Group​.

​​​There is some speculation within the development community that this will result in less office demand since more people may be able to successfully work from home, according to Ben Rooke, Regional Vice President of Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC.

Rooke said office buildings, multi-family, and hospitality projects that were being planned before the pandemic are almost all paused and that there is a “wait and see” attitude for what happens with demand and financing.

​”All of that buzz out in the market has kind of stopped, ceased all together right now,” said Rooke, “It’s hard to see through the fog.” ​

Rooke said most projects that are in progress have continued, with slight adjustments due to social distancing and health screening.

“A couple years down the line, you’ll see a slowdown in construction,” said Rooke.

Around that same time, we may see a renewed interest in suburban markets after several years of focus on downtown. This may stem from long-term concerns of being cooped up on elevators and parking garages, where social distancing is tough.

Rooke says most commercial construction companies will start to see impacts from COVID-19 by late 2020 and 2021.

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