By Darren Fleming, MBA
CEO of Real Strategy Advisors
While quarterly office market summaries are great for giving our clients and readers the lay of the land, we at Real Strategy have been working overtime to conduct research and strategize on the impact of COVID-19 on Ottawa’s commercial real estate sector and realized that we had the makings of a magazine.
So we are pleased to present the inaugural issue of Real Spaces Magazine, where we plan to share our thoughts and opinions alongside real statistics and trends about Ottawa’s commercial real estate market. Our goal is to create a voice in the local marketplace that is forward-looking, encompassing a combination of commercial real estate market trends with insight on best practices for workplace strategy and how to create amazing office cultures!
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In this issue, Real Strategy Advisors addresses the impact of COVID-19 on commercial real estate as well as research on previous economic crises. Our investigations suggest that this is the calm before the storm of falling tenant demand and rising vacancy. It is important to realize that the market has changed. Our aim is to demonstrate this position and argue that as commercial real estate advisors we need to engage, in an anticipatory way, with our clients because the deals we did three months ago do not reflect the deals we will be doing over the next four quarters, or perhaps the next three to five years.
Our goal is to empower you, our readers and clients, to take advantage of what’s on the horizon – even if not immediately obvious. Real Strategy Advisors had a negotiation stall (momentarily) due to the pandemic and, when talks resumed, it was clear to both parties that the contextualization of the market had changed – and it only took two emails! Ultimately, the successful negotiation resulted with a reduced rental rate, increased cash inducements and unprecedented contractual flexibility.
This negotiation wasn’t arrived at through power-play manoeuvres but instead an approach that leveraged the historical results of past economic calamities. If the past is any indicator of where the commercial real estate market could be headed, we haven’t even begun to experience the full impact of COVID-19 on tenant demand.
I’d love for you to join us as we try to create a shared understanding and bridge the gap between how my industry needs to change in order to better serve the people and organizations occupying physical office space. Clearly, the ways of the past are no longer indicative of where we need to go. It is my sincerest hope that we embark on this journey together!
Darren Fleming has been an industry leader in the commercial real estate sector for more than 20 years, providing expertise in the areas of workplace strategy and commercial real estate brokerage. Fleming has worked with some of Ottawa’s most active commercial design builders and major commercial real estate brokerages. With exceptional consulting and business strategy skills, he is an experienced leader and provides C-Suite level advice to his clients.