As the country began to understand the realities of COVID- 19 in early March, many things started to happen. People lim- ited their trips to public places, like stores, bars and restaurants. They started washing their hands a lot more. And, theybegan hoarding sanitizing wipes, soaps and even toilet paper.
Commercial real estate owners also needed to secure this personal protective equipment. But the job often proved too big forone person. Like a number of companies, Wood Partners, an apartment developer, owner and manager in Atlanta, set up a specialtask force focused on procuring much needed supplies for itsapartment communities.
But even with Wood’s buying power and relationships, finding
supplies wasn’t easy. Items like electrostatic sprayers and masks
were incredibly hard to find.
“We had four people calling every vendor during business
hours,” says Steve Hallsey, executive vice president of operations for
Wood Residential Service, which is Wood’s property management
company. “We were hitting every supplier we could think of—medi-
cal suppliers, apartment suppliers and commercial suppliers.”
With Wood’s corporate offices closed, many company associates
took delivery of supplies at their homes.
“They had all of these supplies out in their driveway,” Hallsey
says. “They would put it together, have a driver come and pick it up,
or they would take it to the UPS store and ship it. It was just an
amazing adaptation to a critical situation.”
Adaption was a critical skill for many CRE firms throughout the
pandemic. Companies had to hustle to get the supplies to protect
their employees and residents. While science says these low-tech
solutions, like masks, can help combat the spread of COVID- 19 and
other pathogens, the pandemic is causing many landlords to take a
step back. They’re not only thinking about what can protect their
occupants from COVID, but what high-tech investments can make
their buildings healthier in the future.
MOBILIZING FOR SAFETY
Wood Partners wasn’t alone in setting up task forces. In March,Village Green, an apartment management company based inSouthfield, MI, convened a group that included CEO Diane
Health & Safety
WHILE SCIENCE SAYS LOW-TECHSOLUTIONS, LIKE MASKS, CANHELP COMBAT THE SPREADS OFCOVID- 19 AND OTHER PATHOGENS,THE PANDEMIC IS CAUSING MANYLANDLORDS TO LOOK AT HIGH-TECH SOLUTIONS.
BY LES SHAVER