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CRE/Construction News Roundup (May/June 2020)

June 16, 2020 Bailee Mulder

As restrictions are lifting across the country and summer swings in, construction and commercial real estate are picking back up. Check out some of the biggest news in both industries around Nashville and across the country in the past month:


Construction activity continues amid the pandemic and economic crisis. The
Nashville Business Journal recently updated its crane watch – as of mid-May, our city’s sky has 34 tower cranes. The tally is just short of Seattle’s and higher than larger metropolitan areas, such as Denver, Portland and Washington, D.C. 

Speaking of cranes, plans for two high-rise towers have been approved for downtown, according to the Nashville Post. A mixed-use building in The Gulch will rise 270 feet and offer residential, office and retail space, while a structure in SoBro is proposed as a 420-foot office and retail leaning tower, which would make it the seventh-tallest building in the city if it were standing today. 

New research from Nuveen Real Estate predicts that Nashville is one of the top five United States cities that will fare well through the pandemic. The report models U.S. real estate performance across the 50 largest cities and considers variables such as employment, virus severity and the proportion of each city’s revenue from ‘elastic’ sources of income. The study finds that cities with large non-cyclical industries, such as technology, life sciences and telecommunications, are positioned to perform the best. Nuveen expects the coronavirus to affect cities with the greatest exposure to leisure and hospitality, retail, tourism and entertainment, as high unemployment in these industries will negatively impact real estate values. Nashville’s tourism industry is a large portion of our economy, but this research shows that our city doesn’t rely on it alone.

WSMV reports that renovations at Nashville International Airport (BNA) are on track despite the pandemic. In response to record-breaking growth – 14 percent between 2018 and 2019 alone – the airport expects to open a second parking garage soon and a new concourse in July. By 2023, new roads and an on-site hotel will be under construction.


NAIOP has announced
best practices for a safe workplace as the country begins to reopen and more people are heading to the office. World Property Journal reports that the organization released 12 guidelines for building owners. Among them are cleaning and disinfecting high-touch and common areas, facilitating social distancing and hygiene protocol in the building and reconfiguring work arrangements and office space. They also advise that employers prepare for a second wave.

Virus-related disruptions in the supply chain means that the construction industry will likely shift away from relying on Chinese shipments. Experts anticipate that the landscape will become more competitive, and there will be more reliance on domestic suppliers and manufacturers as well as other countries outside of China, according to BisNow

Employment in the construction industry had a record-breaking rebound last month – the largest monthly increase since 1939. Construction Dive says the industry added 464,000 new netjobs in May, after a historic loss of 975,000 jobs in April due to the coronavirus. Gains were seen in all three nonresidential subsegments.

May was also a better month for commercial real estate developers than April, seeing fewer impacts from the pandemic. According to a survey by NAIOP published in GlobeSt, many metrics improved from the April survey, including delays in permits or entitlements, leasing activities and delays or shortages in supplies. The industrial and multifamily sectors are seeing increases in acquisition and development activity, but office and retail are still struggling. More than half of developers expect the impacts of COVID-19 to fade in less than a year. 

We specialize in construction and commercial real estate public relations and marketing – learn more about our work and how we can help your company grow its brand. 

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