Commercial real estate company sees 10% drop in occupancy amid pandemic | KOB 4

Commercial real estate company sees 10% drop in occupancy amid pandemic

Joy Wang
Updated: January 24, 2021 10:21 PM
Created: January 24, 2021 10:01 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A commercial real estate company in Albuquerque has become no stranger to seeing businesses struggle amid the pandemic. 

Douglas Peterson, with Peterson Properties LLC, has been operating in the Duke City for 50 years. Over those five decades, Peterson said he’s seen a lot when it comes to the world of commercial real estate, but nothing like the pandemic. 

“The struggle really changes from month-to-month,” he said. 

“The most hard hit are the retail and restaurant ones, especially the entertainment types. So we've seen, you know, important tenants like Furr's Cafeteria in Farmington finally closed, you know, Furr's Cafeteria we put in in the late 1970s,” he added.

Peterson said occupancy has dropped by about 10%, but there are reasons why it hasn’t dropped more. 

“We have a, like I said, large portfolio of 500 tenants throughout New Mexico, so we get kind of a diverse perspective,” he said. “Most of those are retail and restaurant, but we even have some who are apartment tenants or a single family housing tenants, so different sectors of that type of different sectors of commercial real estate have done differently throughout the pandemic.”

One of their properties, McMahon Marketplace, shows just how different the pandemic has treated each business. 

“We have a McDonald's and a Starbucks— both with drive-thrus. And you look at it anytime, you're probably talking 15 cars deep. They're doing well. But then in the same shopping center we have a brewery, we have a gym. They were absolutely thriving before the restrictions, and now they can barely operate and they're just hanging on,” he said.

The Paycheck Protection Program helped some of their tenants, and Peterson Properties took advantage of those loans, too. 

“When you're talking about commercial real estate where our costs are fixed, like on mortgages and real estate taxes and things of that sort,” he said.

Other than government assistance, the community has also stepped up to help. Recently, someone helped pay the rent at Cinnamon Sugar and Spice Cafe in Nob Hill. 

“We were very pleased that it shows community support for tenants,” Peterson said.

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