On May 14th, we heard from ULI members about how they have adjusted their businesses to be responsive to the community’s needs. From construction shifts to space planning to virtual engagement with marketing and plan review. The shift in how real estate is delivered and experienced is quickly changing.
Brian Nicholson, Vice President of Development, LMC
On the residential side, home sales have continued. Lennar has shifted to virtual model home tours for out of state customers. Technology has been put into place at the model homes to allow self-guided tours for local customers. This allows them to enter, tour the home, and video chat with an off-site agent.
LMC’s apartment buildings are offering tours via video chat with an on-site agent as well as pre-recorded tours for out of state customers. Self-guided tours will be available to apartments in the coming months.
Projects are moving forward despite some disruptions in the supply chain.
Elizabeth McMillan, Senior Director of Development, Crescent Communities
Crescent Communities is maintaining their project schedule in construction, design and development, and retail while strategizing new ways to position and market commercial projects and how that will impact future projects.
The commercial and retail models will be revisited, as the shutdown impacted and changed the ways these markets do business.
Scott Allen, President, Carocon
Construction projects have continued as usual with some differences put into place to maintain safety standards. Projects are down 10-15% due to new protocols and labor issues. Carocon will revise the protocols as necessary but have no plans to lift them in the near future. Construction costs have reduced due to lower demand. Ongoing supply chain issues will determine future costs.
The biggest issue has been with the disruption in the supply chain. In the future, Carocon will do more bulk buying and storing of materials to counteract the disruptions.
Looking forward, Carocon will be utilizing technology to maintain an open line of communication in order to keep production on schedule.
Angela Vogel Daley, Director of Strategy, Yellow Duck Marketing
Yellow Duck’s real estate clients have either paused activity or focused on ramping up websites and their digital presence. Virtual tours, online chat features, and interactive site plans have been developed and implemented during the shutdown.
Community outreach projects have shifted to a virtual platform, utilizing ZOOM’s various features.
Press releases were initially put on hold. Some have been released, but the type of announcement will determine its release date.
The social media side has been busy, particularly for their retail clients. Engagement is high, as retail clients have focused on keeping customers up to date on how business is running.
Alyson Craig, Deputy Planning Director, City of Charlotte
All City staff is working remotely. Review times have improved and inspections are steady. They have seen a 15% decline in residential permitting, however commercial permitting has remained strong. Legislation from the governor has allowed for a five month extension in permitting.
Rezoning remains strong. The first virtual public rezoning meeting went very well. The second meeting will be held virtually on May 18.
The City has modified the way it holds community meetings and is exploring ways to engage with the population that lacks technology. The City is using creative ways to reach the community, via ZOOM technology, and Instagram and TikTok virtual challenges.
Charlotte is well-positioned to come out of this ahead of larger cities.