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  • Writer's pictureColliers | Columbus


Updated: May 8, 2020

Written by: Cal Axe

As a Brokerage Associate, Cal Axe specializes in commercial office leasing, sales, and occupier services in the greater Columbus area. Before his career in brokerage, he joined Colliers as a research analyst: a position that requires extensive knowledge of the Columbus office market. His experience in research and brokerage makes him extremely knowledgeable in the industry. Keep reading to get Cal’s take on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the commercial real estate market.


Historically, downturns in Columbus are "mellow" relative to most markets. We don't dramatically spike when times are good, but also avoid getting smacked with a Conor McGregor right shoulder when times are bad. For that stability, we can thank a diverse economy rich with healthcare finance and tech, strong education with the universities, millennial talent and plenty of government jobs.

Alright commercial real estate. Our industry is expecting a mixed-bag across the board.

1. Industrial sector will build off the growth they've experienced over the last decade. At-home deliveries were popular, now it's necessary. Enter last mile warehousing.

2. Retail and hotels will struggle. Many restaurants will not recover from social distancing orders and hotels will suffer from the absence of travel, conferences and events.

3. Office. This is my field, and I wish I had a better answer, but the truth is - I don't know. Leasing activity fell dramatically during the last recession but quickly rebounded, which led to a surge in new office developments. COVID-19 is different. Companies will have to completely reevaluate their space plan and ask difficult questions such as: How many people need to come back to the office? What's the appropriate distance people should work from each other? How do we handle common areas?

These questions will inevitably impact real estate footprint and office design. It is too early to tell at this point, but we will be watching the market intently.

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