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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Aug. 26, 2021)

The Wall Street Journal reports that the long delays in distributing federal COVID-19 rent relief continue. A new survey from PwC shows that an increasing percentage of remote workers do not want to return to the office. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Only a Fraction of Covid-19 Rental Assistance Has Been Distributed “While the program is overseen by the Treasury, it relies on a patchwork of more than 450 state, county and municipal governments and charitable organizations to distribute aid. The result: months of delays as local governments built new programs from scratch, hired staff and crafted rules for how the money should be distributed, then struggled to process a deluge of applications.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. 41% of remote workers never want to go back to the office — up from 29% in January “PwC surveyed 1,007 full-time and part-time employees, and found preferences around remote work vary. When looking at a subset of workers, something has changed in the seven months since its last survey: Those who wanted to be fully remote was 29% in January 2021, but this share has increased to 41% just a few months later in the August survey.” (Insider)
  3. Goldman Sachs to require all people entering its offices to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 “Goldman will also require mask-wearing in all common areas including lobbies, hallways, gyms and cafeterias, except when seated and eating or drinking. In cities including San Francisco and Washington, masks will be required at all times, except when eating or drinking, because of local health guidance.” (CNBC)
  4. ‘They Were Bullies’: Inside the Turbulent Origins of the Collapsed Florida Condo “Although there is no indication that the catastrophic collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in June was related to the tacked-on penthouse, the alteration was just one of many contentious parts of a project that was pushed through by aggressive developers at a time when the local government seemed wholly unprepared for a new era of soaring condo projects.” (The New York Times)
  5. Kathy Hochul Vows to Quicken the Pace of COVID-Related Rental Aid “Hours after being sworn in as the state’s 57th and first female governor, Hochul vowed to tame the rising number of COVID-19 cases, ensure that tenants receive federal aid that was promised to them, and restore trust in government after a sexual harassment scandal drove her predecessor from office.” (Commercial Observer)
  6. California housing department mismanaged COVID-19 funds for the homeless, audit says “The department was in charge of distributing the funds to local groups that collaborate on homeless services and prevention under the so-called continuum of care. It took so long to finalize contracts that the local entities did not have access to much of the funding during the height of the pandemic, auditors found.” (Los Angeles Times)
  7. Office Owners Lean Into Daycares And Outdoor Spaces To Lure Back Remote Workers “Employers are evaluating their footprints amid the hybrid work discussion, and office owners remain mired in a sluggish office market. In an attempt to make their spaces more attractive, developers are investing in sustainability measures, activating outdoor space and eying practical amenities like daycares.” (Bisnow)
  8. Nursing Homes Keep Losing Workers “Turnover has been twice as high as it was before the pandemic, he said. ‘We turned down 138 admissions from hospitals last month because we didn’t have the staff to open another unit,’ he said. Nursing-home staff have quit—and stayed away—because of the pay, burnout and fear of Covid-19, administrators and workers say. Enhanced unemployment benefits and competing job opportunities also have played a role, they say.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  9. Restaurants plead for more relief as Delta variant keeps diners away “The National Restaurant Association on Tuesday urged lawmakers to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, warning that increased costs and changes to consumer behavior amid rising caseloads has put restaurant owners under ‘crushing long-term debt loads.’”(The Real Deal)
  10. Delta Air Lines is raising health insurance premiums for unvaccinated employees by $200 a month to cover higher Covid costs “The measures are the latest attempt by a U.S. corporation to drive up Covid vaccination rates. Delta stopped short of an outright mandate like rival United Airlines established earlier this month. Delta, which self-insures its employees, stands out in its plans to raise premiums for unvaccinated workers to cover the higher costs of insuring employees who get Covid.” (CNBC)
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