A rendering of The Charlotte, a planned 750-unit residential tower at 25 Christopher Columbus Drive in Jersey City — Courtesy: CBRE/Elkus Manfredi Architects
By Joshua Burd
Rent collections for Mack-Cali Realty Corp.’s office and residential holdings have held strong thus far, as the company works with tenants to navigate the COVID-19 economic crisis.
The real estate investment trust announced Thursday that, as of April 20, it collected roughly 90 percent of rent from its office tenants. Within its portfolio, tenants that represent only 6 percent of billings, including some that have paid April rent, have asked for some form of rent relief and the company said it was working with those occupiers to create a payment plan.
Within its luxury apartment portfolio, Mack-Cali has collected 96 percent of projected rent for the month as of April 20. The portfolio has a current percentage leased rate of 95 percent, the REIT said, noting that the remainder of outstanding collections of 4 percent is largely from tenants who are seeking a payment plan.
The company offered the update on Thursday while also providing information about its construction activities after Gov. Phil Murphy’s April 8 executive order, which halted all non-essential construction activity in the state. The order also called for businesses to adopt aggressive social distancing and disinfection measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Mack-Cali said past performance and April 2020 rent collections to date are not indicative of future results, given the uncertainty about how long the state of emergency would last.
“We are living in an unprecedented time and our organization has made appropriate adjustments to help our residents, tenants and community navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” CEO Michael DeMarco said. “Operationally we have implemented the recommended protocols to facilitate the health and safety of our tenants, residents and employees. We have taken the necessary precautions across all of our properties to ensure we can provide essential services to our tenants and residents in a safe and timely manner.
“We also have tried to provide help wherever we can for those who are dealing with this crisis and will continue to do so in the upcoming months.”
Within its hotel portfolio, the company’s Residence Inn at Port Imperial remains open with average occupancy to date for April at 65 percent, according to a news release. The hotel has donated 25 percent of its rooms, not included in the occupancy percentage, for regional front-line health care workers, while also providing meals to those workers each day.
The company’s remaining two hotels, the Envue, which is wholly owned, and the Hyatt, which is owned through a 50-50 joint venture with Hyatt, have been closed for the month of April.
Mack-Cali currently has five projects under construction within its Roseland Residential Trust portfolio for a total of 1,942 units. The Emery at Overlook Ridge, a 326-unit apartment project in Massachusetts, has delivered 140 units, of which 46 percent are leased, while the remaining 186 units are expected to be completed over the next six months.
The balance of 1,616 units are comprised of four properties in New Jersey, which include The Charlotte in Jersey City, Building 9 at Port Imperial, Riverwalk C at Port Imperial and Short Hills Residential, the news release said. In accordance with Murphy’s order, construction activity across all sites has been largely curtailed, except The Charlotte, which is exempt from the order.
The REIT added that its construction projects greatly benefited from a mild winter and are generally ahead of schedule. It expects that if the delays are not too lengthy, it will not materially affect the company’s original delivery schedules.