May 25, 2021

Land Use and Real Estate Teams Discuss Leasing in the Post-COVID Era

Holland & Knight Retail and Commercial Development and Leasing Blog
Karl J. Lott
Retail and Commercial Development and Leasing Blog

Holland & Knight's West Coast Land Use and Environmental Group and Real Estate Practice have put together a very informative and topical CLE webinar series dealing with a number of issues that property owners, tenants and managers are experiencing in the post-COVID world. On May 19, 2021, the webinar topic was "Leasing in the Post-COVID Era." Holland & Knight partners Karl Lott, Marcy Hart, Diane McDermott and Gina Fonte discussed three broad topics.

First, Mr. Lott discussed the implications of remote working on office leasing, how companies are reducing the square footage of the space they rent and the resulting drop in office rental rates. He discussed how vacancy rates may continue to grow and office rents may continue to fall through the middle of 2022, at which times things are predicted to start to stabilize, with vacancy rates and rents gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels in 2025. Mr. Lott also described the growing trend of companies to shrink their space and use fewer offices, as well as the "hoteling" of offices to permit multiple employees to use the same office on different days.

Ms. Hart and Ms. McDermott spoke about their experience assisting clients with another recent trend: converting office buildings to a different use altogether. The two attorneys have worked with clients that have converted office buildings to life sciences uses – such as laboratories and research and development facilities, primarily in areas that are adjacent to universities or other large medical facilities. They discussed some of the difficulties and considerations in converting office space to alternative uses and went through many of the larger negotiating points they have encountered.

Ms. Fonte talked about some of the health implications of returning to the office. She discussed the status of guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on topics such as whether employers can require their employees to provide proof of COVID vaccinations or still require employees to wear facemasks. Ms. Fonte noted that OSHA still has not issued a COVID-19 standard, and that companies must refer to other applicable COVID-19 standards in dealing with these issues. She described how the CDC and OSHA guidance documents should be seen as the minimum levels of protection. States and local governments may continue to issue more restrictive requirements.

If you were unable to attend the webinar, please feel free to view and share the online recording.

Online Recording

Access Passcode: #LeasingIssues0519

Upcoming Programs in the Series

Continuing Legal Education (CLE)

Holland & Knight is an approved CLE provider in several jurisdictions, including California, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. All reasonable efforts to seek CLE credits for this program will be made. In certain instances, some programs may not be awarded CLE credits because of either content or jurisdictional restrictions. For New York attorneys, this program's format qualifies for CLE for transitional (newly admitted) and experienced attorneys.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the situation surrounding COVID-19 is evolving and that the subject matter discussed may change on a daily basis. Please contact your responsible Holland & Knight lawyer for timely advice.

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