Seattle Market Optimism by Jordan Selig
In a recent article published in the Puget Sound Business Journal, I shared some thoughts and insights on why a healthy dose of optimism can help to successfully drive a company’s vision. I’m venturing to expand on those ideas today to help communicate why I, and the rest of the Martin Selig Real Estate team, are bullish on the future of downtown Seattle.
There’s never been a time in our lives that a positive outlook has been more important. That’s because it is remarkably easy to get caught in the trap of thinking otherwise. The global pandemic and its resulting isolation, not to mention the constant news of struggles faced by businesses large and small, and the people who staff them, can be overwhelming at times.
But it doesn’t mean that life’s challenges, especially on elements we simply cannot control, have to be the predictor of things to come. That’s true only if we let it. I have always been a glass-half-full kind of person – that is just how I am wired. Most important, that optimism has guided my professional career.
There’s plenty to be hopeful about, especially when we consider the future of downtown Seattle. For all the damage that Covid has brought into our world, it’s actually made us at Martin Selig Real Estate very optimistic about the future of the urban core. And for several reasons:
- Lessons Learned: The pandemic has given us opportunities to embrace critical experiences from the past, lessons that will serve our business well into the future. But we need to know where to look. COVID-19 has actually compressed a typical ten- to 12-year real estate cycle into just a single year. While the retail and hospitality sectors have been the hardest hit, industrial and even multi-family remain relatively strong — and we’re bullish on Class A product, too, as long as it’s thoughtfully developed and centrally located.
- Flexibility Rules – In all economic cycles, real estate companies need to remain flexible, particularly when there’s so much uncertainty in play. Flexibility gives us the ability to maximize opportunity and minimize unpredictability. At Martin Selig Real Estate, we have a deep offering of Class A office assets, but we’re also developing several a number of mixed-use buildings featuring hundreds of well-conceived apartment units. And the urban core is “what we do,” our team is forever reacting to changing market dynamics to support our tenants, investors and project partners.
- Business Fundamentals – Over the past 14 months, we’ve invested countless hours assessing what’s made Martin Selig Real Estate so successful over the years. That self-examination has only reinforced the importance of sound business fundamentals in driving positive performance of our company, our team and our assets. Sometimes, crises have a silver lining that can be both difficult to find and staring us right in the face. At Martin Selig Real Estate, the pandemic has given us the opportunity to double-down on what works – sound, strategic development, customer-focused management, and a deep appreciation for relationships.
- Minimizing Debt, Maximizing Connections – At Martin Selig Real Estate, we believe that now is the time to deleverage and reduce the overall debt on our books. Doing so has helped us to capitalize on unforeseen opportunities and reduce risk from underperforming assets. And speaking of relationships, we’re strengthening our connections with tenants — across all asset types — and financial partners. After all, they’re looking to you for vision, creativity and leadership. The saying goes that real estate is about location. I believe it’s really about relationships. During these times of remote operations, relationships are critical to our ability to emerge strong and healthy from this ongoing pandemic and tackle the challenges of the future with confidence and grace.
- Compassion is King – Lastly, we all need to be compassionate, reasonable and understanding about the state of the industry, especially during these trying times. That means we need to be patience with everyone in our business circles, especially those most negatively impacted by Covid. Profitability is always important, of course, but we need to make some concessions for those who need it — while holding those who don’t to original terms.
In summary, I strongly believe that optimism is a choice – not a product of market dynamics. As I stated in the PSBJ article, we choose to believe the future of the commercial real estate industry, particularly in downtown Seattle, is bright and promising. Our optimism, combined with key business principles we’ve practiced over the years, will successfully guide us for generations to come.