Hope. It’s been the key word throughout the commercial real estate industry this year. Hope that next year will be stronger for the industry.
That hope was on full display Oct. 19 during REjournals’ fourth annual St. Louis Commercial Real Estate Summit held at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac.
The event attracted some of the biggest names in St. Louis’ commercial real estate market to discuss the state of the area’s industrial, multifamily, retail and office sectors. The takeaway? As in so many other cities across the Midwest, the industrial and multifamily markets continue to thrive in the St. Louis area even as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.
But other sectors? Speakers pointed to the uncertainty afflicting the St. Louis office market. No one knows yet when companies will bring workers back to the office on a full-time basis. And once companies start bringing workers back, no one’s certain, either, whether these employees will work full-time in the office or on a hybrid schedule, working part of the time in the office and the rest of the time at home.
Depending on what companies decide, then, the office needs of companies might change over the next several years.
Speakers also said that the retail sector continues to face challenges. This isn’t unusual, of course. The retail sector was hard hit by COVID and pandemic-related shutdowns. But as the speakers at the conference said, several retailers have become creative to get through the pandemic. And certain retail sectors — especially quick-service restaurants with drive-throughs — have thrived.
What does the future hold for the St. Louis market? That’s where the hope comes in. Speakers at the conference were optimistic that 2022 will be a stronger year for the commercial real estate market. That’s good news considering that 2021 so far has been a solid year for the St. Louis commercial business, too, especially considering the challenges brought by the pandemic.