On Thursday, November 12 Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) was joined by Kat Stewart from St. Charles Town Company LLC, a Denver urban real estate development company. Kat discussed the top challenges that retail, restaurants and commercial tenants face and how commercial districts can help overcome those challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges are as follows;

    • COVID-19
    • Rent
      • Real Estate Tax
        • Building Department/Codes

          The COVID-19 Pandemic has created new challenges and exacerbated already existing challenges for tenants in Colorado. The major challenges of COVID-19 are;

            • Decreased sales 
            • Increased staffing levels 
              • Disruption of supply chains

                Kat stressed the importance of landlords doing whatever they can to keep their current tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic because the cost to re-tenant a commercial space is large and it tends to be a long-drawn-out process.

                Some tips to keeping the same tenets during the COVID-19 Pandemic are as follows;

                      - Monetize all day-parts

                  • Day-part: morning, mid-day, afternoon + evening 

                  • Making sales all day long by changing menu, operations and partnering with different retailers + restaurants

                      - Landlord, tenant and City Collaboration

                  Tips for keeping up with Rent

                        -Tenants and landlords to partner on rent solutions 

                        -Facilitate solutions 

                    • Grants
                    • Business Improvement District connections
                    • Public Improvement Fees - reducing operating expenses
                    • Creative leas solutions - deferring rent 

                    Tips for dealing with Rent and Real Estate Taxes

                          - Take the lead in protesting real estate tax assessment 

                      • Large increases in commercial real estate taxes are detrimental
                      • Time and expense of these protests can be shared between tenant and landlord
                      • Gallagher repeal will help with this

                      Tips for dealing with City Building Departments/Building Codes

                          - Cut through the red tape of building departments and building codes

                          - Stakeholders need to advocate for the tenant 

                          - Building department flexibility

                        • Time = Money, timeframe for entitlement and development to be cut so that tenants can move in and begin generating revenue
                        • Reducing the point of contact in the city and building departments to streamline the process
                        • Fast Facts Document that is a shortlist of requirements that will increase productivity
                        • Ensure more collaboration
                        • Reduce Cost Burden

                                          - Eliminate code interpretation driven by opinion 

                                        - Relax rules for small tenants on some high-cost improvements

                                        - Rural municipalities to incorporate more progressive codes

                        To watch the full video recording please click here

                        Kat Stewart 

                        Kat is a freelance project and operations professional.  Kat began her career with a local, full-service real estate development company and later moved into commercial real estate as the Vice President of Finance for Shift Workspaces, a shared workspace provider. Kat most recently was the Vice President of Operations for St. Charles Town Company and was responsible for the oversight and asset management of the company’s real estate portfolio. Kat has extensive experience working with tenants to maneuver through the City of Denver's building department and permitting process.

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