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Five key messages from Q3 REIT earnings: Federal, Kimco Realty, Macerich, Simon and Tanger

November 22, 2020

According to Simon president, chairman and CEO David Simon

The government needs to offer more aid to commercial property owners and their tenants. The government treats enclosed malls unfairly when it decides which properties to shut down and keep open, Simon said. He also said local governments should offer more tax relief. “The one line item that’s up, if you looked at our financials, is real estate taxes. When are local jurisdictions going to start giving relief to retail real estate taxes, compared to distribution warehouses and the like? It’s completely opposite. We do more for the communities than other property types, and I am hopeful that at one point in the near future, these communities will recognize it.”

RELATED: The pandemic and property taxes: Should you appeal your property’s value?

According to Macerich CEO Tom O’Hern

Investors and lenders are reluctant to finance enclosed malls. “Capital markets have basically shut down, so now isn’t a particularly good time to be raising capital to de-lever,” O’Hern said. “That will change. We saw a change in 2009 and 2010, and that will happen again. And the same will happen with appetite for assets. As you recall, we sold 25 malls coming out of the financial crisis starting in 2011, generated about $1.5 billion of liquidity. So we expect post-pandemic, post-vaccine, things will return to a more normal level and we’ll have the opportunity to dispose of noncore assets and use that capital for reducing leverage levels.”

According to Kimco Realty CEO Conor Flynn

Landlords are investing more in their best tenants. “Perhaps hit the hardest are small-shop tenants who often simply do not have the resources to hang on,” Flynn said. “Unwilling to wait to see who will stay or go, we are in daily dialogue with our retailers to listen to their needs and challenges and to see how we can partner to help them navigate the situation. Whether we help tenants pay for legal costs, provide health and financial information on our website, locate vendors to facilitate tenant acquisitions of outdoor heaters, or expand our national curbside pickup program, we are letting our tenants know we are in this together as they fight to continue for success. We can’t save every tenant, but we can do our part to make sure we help those that want or need a fighting chance.”

According to Tanger Outlets president and COO Stephen Yalof

Landlords are investing in their own apps and digital marketing initiatives. “We have been focused on evolving our marketing strategy to drive customers to our centers while also increasing customer engagements,” Yalof said. “During the quarter, we launched some exciting enhancements to the Tanger digital capabilities, where shoppers can access exclusive deals and earn rewards. As of the end of the third quarter, Tanger app downloads were up 26 percent year to date. Similarly, we have continued to utilize the Tanger Virtual Shopper Program, which allows shoppers to seamlessly access products from across our platform. This program is having the intended results of engaging shoppers and allowing them to shop in a way it fits their needs.”

According to Federal president and CEO Don Wood

Leases are getting shorter. “The volume of new and renewed leases that we did in the third quarter is encouraging, but the new rent on those deals was basically flat with the old rent, actually down 1 percent,” Wood said. “That is a function of our negotiating and leasing philosophy and leverage in the middle of COVID. Note the average term: 5.6 years versus the normal average of roughly eight years. ... Basically, we’re trying to lock in strong, financially desirable deals for longer term than usual and limiting term on deals where we’re trying to bridge a tenant to the other side of COVID to two or three years.”

By Brannon Boswell

Executive Editor/SCT

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