0 Boston launches $6M fund for business reopenings

By   | Boston Business Journal | May 27, 2020

Boston officials have pledged $6 million in grants to support small businesses where employees must work in close proximity with either coworkers or customers — such as hair salons and barber shops, retail stores, gyms and food service establishments — to provide personal protective equipment so those businesses can reopen.

Companies with fewer than 15 employees can apply for up to $2,000 for materials such as masks and safety partitions for customers and employees. The funding will be available in three rounds: first, for personal services including barber shops and hair salons; second, for retail, restaurants, nail salons, day spas, waxing and laser services; and third, for bars, arts and entertainment venues and fitness businesses.

Applications open Thursday at 5:00 p.m. at boston.gov/reopen-fund.

“When our small businesses are ready and able to open, we want our business owners and workers to have access to the appropriate resources to stay safe,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “These additional grants will help level the playing field for Boston’s small businesses and support both our public health and economic equity priorities.”

At a press conference on Tuesday, Walsh stressed that employees should continue to work from home if possible. Workers should not feel pressured to come into work if they don’t feel safe, he said.

“We have to do our part to minimize the risk of another surge,” he said. “It’s not the time to let up.”

0 In this coronavirus spring, a stroll down Newbury Street felt neither leisurely nor luxurious


By  Shirley Leung | Boston Globe | May 26, 2020

It says a lot that the busiest spot on Newbury Street on a gorgeous Tuesday was the decidedly unglamorous UPS Store, where people spent their lunchtime lined up outside to mail packages.

In normal times, this stretch of the Back Bay would have been jammed with pedestrians who had come to shop, eat, and people-watch. Parking would have been harder to find than toilet paper at a Walmart in April. It would have been the perfect day to play hooky after lunching outside on the patio of Stephanie’s.

Instead, like during the previous 10 or so weeks, Newbury Street was eerily quiet. The Massachusetts economy may have tentatively reopened, but you couldn’t tell by walking down this quintessential street of Boston commerce. Between the papered-up windows and “for lease” signs, it was hard to find a store or a restaurant that was open for curbside or takeout service.

Consider the end closest to the Public Garden, where the poshest shops are located. Burberry was open for curbside pickup, but Chanel next door was not. Both Salon Capri and Mario Russo Salon welcomed back clients, but not the Italian boutique Brunello Cucinelli in the storefront below them.

In this coronavirus spring, a stroll down Newbury Street felt neither leisurely nor luxurious. Instead, it was one more reminder of the economic toll of the virus, which forced the shutdown of so-called nonessential businesses for two months.

Some stores felt frozen in time, their windows plastered with March postings about being temporarily closed. Other shops flashed signs of life — like the handwritten note on Anthropologie’s front door that read: “Hi UPS + USPS we are back in store every day 10 am-2 pm!”

But it is the papered-up storefronts that really give you pause: How many of these stores will be part of the state’s economic restart?

Dan Dumenigo, owner of the Barbershop Lounge, wondered the same as he opened his shop on Monday for the first time since March 24. People are long overdue for a haircut ― you’ve seen them on Zoom ― and by Tuesday morning Dumenigo had only two appointments left for the rest of the week. While his barbershop is busy, he couldn’t say the same about an empty Newbury Street on a picture-perfect day.

“It’s definitely depressing,” Dumenigo said through his face mask.

He’s especially worried about his stretch of Newbury, between Fairfield and Gloucester streets, which benefits from being a block away from the Prudential Center. How many of those people working from home will come back to the office tower? Not so long ago, thousands of workers used to spill out on to Boylston and Newbury during lunch time. They grabbed a bite to eat, did a little shopping, and maybe even got a haircut. Together, they spent a lot of money.

With the prospect of more people shifting permanently to working from home, Dumenigo said, some retail business tenants wonder if they can get by with fewer customers.

Even before the pandemic, the future of Newbury Street as a retail and restaurant destination was in doubt. As the mom-and-pop businesses that gave it character were being forced out by rising rents in recent years, national and international chains have taken over. Restaurateurs with the biggest buzz passed over old-style brownstone dining to open up in the shiny neighborhoods of Fenway and the Seaport. Now, some of the most vulnerable shop owners along Newbury worry that the coronavirus fallout might be the “final straw,” said Dumenigo.

Vacancy rates have hovered around 10 percent to 15 percent on Newbury, which is higher than Beacon Hill’s Charles Street or Harvard Square, according to Whitney Gallivan, partner and managing director, of Boston Realty Advisors, a brokerage advisory firm.

But Gallivan isn’t ready to write off the neighborhood. As the virus makes us reimagine everything, including shopping, she believes Newbury will remain relevant.

“Newbury has always been a fixture in the city’s retail shopping . . . there is nothing else like it,” she said. “Newbury will be on the list of places people will want to shop.”

But Gallivan and others point out that its survival will, in part, depend on the strength of the relationship between tenants and landlords. They need to work together because the economic recovery will be slow, with revenue kept down by limits of the number of shoppers and diners allowed inside stores and restaurants. Covering the rent is going to be a huge challenge. Compromises will need to be reached, and soon.

As longtime Newbury Street tenant Patrick Lyons puts it: “What COVID is going to do is lay bare the reality of stupid leases.”

Lyons, whose Sonsie restaurant has been on Newbury for close to three decades, credits his longevity to a landlord who isn’t out looking to lease to the highest bidder.

“We have an enlightened landlord who understands the magic of Newbury Street,” he said.

The City of Boston can enhance that magic by closing streets to auto traffic and encouraging outdoor dining, something it’s considering for neighborhoods across Boston. Since 2016, Mayor Marty Walsh has promoted a few car-free weekends a year on Newbury, drawing crowds and rave reviews.

How about expanding that to weeknights? Then leave it up to the ingenuity of business owners to add bells and whistles like strolling musicians and dancing under the stars.

Some days it’s hard to imagine how we can ever return to our pre-pandemic lives. But Meg Mainzer-Cohen, president of the Back Bay Association, reminded me we’ve been here before.

“I remember sitting in my office overlooking Boylston Street – completely empty after the Boston Marathon bombing . . . will this ever turn back to normal again?”

We know the answer. We eventually emerged from the horror of that day. Just as we will one day walk down Newbury Street again, no longer weighed down by the pandemic.


0 Re-Imagine Housing Affordability in a Post-Pandemic Boston











Like many cities today, Boston has a shortage of affordable housing. Along with that, the Boston population is expanding significantly faster than housing can be built. What will this mean Bostantonians long term?

Solutions for limited space, reducing project expenses and expediting the preconstruction process all come down to the initial design phase.

Design leaders are approaching policy, incorporating technology to expedite permitting and utilizing space to build smaller units at volume more than every.

Join Bisnow May 26 for a deep dive into how leaders and designers plan to usher in a new and more affordable era through design in Boston CRE.

There will be plenty of time for questions.

If you can’t attend live, register. We will be sending the recording to all registrants.

During this webinar we will discuss:

–What innovative design solutions can reduce housing expenses?

–How do high-density housing models present new opportunities for housing expenses in Boston today?

–How changes in design policy can facilitate new support systems in the inner city?

–What are new ways to approach the limitations of land and build space in downtown Boston?

–How technology is being used to change the design process and eliminate delays that increase development cost?

Register HERE.

0 Boston Construction Struggles To Adapt To Social Distancing – And How To Pay For It

By Drees Stribling | Bisnow | May 19, 2020

As the construction industry in Boston is poised to reopen completely, the challenge of operating efficiently while social distancing are only going to intensify, experts said this week.

According to the speakers at Bisnow’s recent webinar, How to Get Boston Construction Back Underway, it has already been a struggle.

A lot of construction deemed essential didn’t stop over the last two months, giving construction companies time to start screening and to improve the process, Skanska Executive Vice President and General Manager Bryan Northrop said.

“People want to feel comfortable with their surroundings,” he said. “We’ve been doing the checks and the self-certifications, and we’ve taken a step further to try to automate [the process], so you don’t have to handle pens and paper.”

“What we’re finding is all the folks working on the job site support this, and we haven’t had any pushback. I think everyone understand it’s not only for their well-being, but their co-workers,'” Northrop said.

Skanska began checking temperatures with handheld units, and some jobs sites have stand-mounted devices that workers can walk by, Northrop said. He added that it is important to note that the results of the screening, including the answers to questions about worker health, are kept confidential.

Wise Construction Director of Construction Bill Olson said going paperless is important for privacy, but also because the goal is to not have people touch anything that isn’t theirs to begin with.

“There’s a lot of promising technology out there that people are starting to explore,” he said, citing one system that counts the number of people at a job site.

“We’re trying to limit a job site to 500 SF per person, so we count workers as they come to a job site, and we know when they get to that limit,” Olson said. “Our focus is individual safety. If each worker on our site can protect [him or herself] and others, we have the baseline safety.”

Another challenge for the industry are the costs associated with screening and social distancing, the speakers said. Some costs are more obvious than others, such as the expense associated with testing equipment and personal protective equipment.

“There are cost increases, and we’ve had clients ask us about what to expect, and frankly, each answer is different, because each job is in a different place,” Northrop said.

In high-rise construction, vertical transportation is a critical factor in efficiency, and social distancing has had an impact on how efficiently it can be used, Northrop said. The industry is working on ways to adjust to that reality, such as staggering shifts, but it is going to be an ongoing challenge.

Screening workers and limiting their numbers on-site is only the beginning, the webinar participants said.

“When you think about the complexities of what you’re doing, [like] hanging sheetrock or glass, how do you separate each other?” asked Boston Realty Advisors Managing Director and Senior Partner Wil Catlin, who co-moderated the event.

Construction workers are used to working shoulder-to-shoulder to complete tasks, so social distancing is a different way to work, and certainly a challenge, Northrop said. But when workers in the trades are challenged, they come up with creative ideas.

Sometime designers have modified aspects of a building’s plan, such as panel sizes, to help make it easier to do while at a distance, he said. But some tasks can’t be done while social distancing.

“When you start getting within 6 feet, and there’s no other way, we start putting people in more substantial respirators or face shields,” Northrop said.

Pandemic-era safety measures might seem like a strange new normal for the construction industry, but worker safety has long been a focus in the industry. The pandemic adds a layer of complexity to worker safety that will take some getting used to, speakers said, even with enhanced training.

“We all want to get back to work, but we want to get back to work as safely as possible,” Massachusetts Building Trades Council Executive Vice President Francis Callahan Jr. said. “Safety is job one.”

Safety at jobs sites now begins with the basics, including checking temperatures. That is only a first step, because some carriers of COVID-19 can be asymptomatic or have other symptoms besides fever. Construction sites also need to know whether workers have been traveling recently, whether they have been exposed to anyone with the disease, or if they have lesser-known symptoms, such as a loss of smell and taste.

“It’s important that we get this right the first time,” Callahan said. “We don’t want everybody going back to work, and we have a spike and have to shut down again.”

Callahan pointed out that construction unions are shouldering much of the costs for online training, which is a critical factor in making the new safety procedures work.

“That’s our focus, and that’s how we’re addressing our safety needs,” he said. “Our members are going to show up at the job site, as they always do, with a much higher level of training.”

0 Study: Rents will fall at downtown office towers

Boston office rents will be affected, but not in the near term. According to CoStar Group, the economic downturn of 2008 started the gradual drop in rents with the bottom of the market occurring in 2010.

By Tim Logan | Boston Globe | May 6, 2020

Rents for office space in downtown Boston could fall sharply this year as companies lay off employees and reassess how and where they work amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report out Wednesday.

Estimates from Moody’s Analytics project a 12 percent drop in office rents in the city, one of the five steepest declines in the country, as the impact of the pandemic sweeps through the economy, and particularly through dense downtown business districts like Boston’s.

It would mark the end of a long run-up in rents and demand for office space in central Boston, though the study’s author, Victor Canalog, noted a 12 percent drop would be softer than the crashes of the early 1990s and 2001, and about what the region endured amid the broad economic collapse in 2008 and 2009.

In that context — and given the cratering economy and job market — things could look a lot worse, he said.

“This is the world we live in right now,” said Canalog, who is head of commercial real estate economics at Moody’s. “If we say ‘It’s going to be about as bad as 2008 and 2009,’ that’s actually a good thing.”

But Canalog’s report points to some troubling longer-term trends for cities such as Boston, which thrive on their busy business districts. If employers embrace work-from-home technology, they may ultimately decide they need less office space in general. If, at the same time, they decide they need to spread out workers who do come into the office, it may make sense to relocate to suburban office parks where rents are typically far lower.

“If it’s true that we’re going to reduce footprint, then there are going to be winners and losers,” Canalog said. “A company might not move from Boston to North Dakota. There are good reasons they want to be near Boston. But they might move out of downtown Boston to someplace 20 miles away, where they can get many of the same things.”

But those are longer-term decisions. At the moment, seven weeks into a public health emergency that has shut down big swaths of the region’s economy, the impact on Boston’s office market has been muted.

Few new leases have been signed, in part due to the complications of touring and inspecting space, and also because of the broader economic uncertainty. Several large deals in downtown office towers reportedly nearing completion have been put on hold, or scuttled, while companies reassess the market.

But no companies have publicly backed away from signed deals to move in the next couple of years. Some tenants, particularly in tech and life sciences, continue to look for space. And developers with large towers under construction say they still plan to deliver the buildings, fully leased, if perhaps a bit delayed by construction shutdowns.

So far, building owners have been reluctant to lower rents to lure tenants, said Mark Hickey, director of market analytics in the Boston office of Costar, a real estate data firm. Instead they’re offering more concessions or longer-term leases.

But it appears they could face competition from a growing inventory of sublease space, particularly from tech companies that in recent years gobbled up large blocks of office space for future growth, which they may no longer need and may put out for lease at a discount. The real estate firm Colliers estimates there was 1.6 million square feet of sublease space on the market at the end of April, more than Boston had during the real estate crash of 2009.

Even aside from questions of supply and demand, this experience is likely to change how companies view and use office space, said Aaron Jodka, managing director of research at the Boston office of the real estate firm Colliers. The question is how.

“Do tenants need more space because of distancing requirements? Or less space, because more people are working from home?” he said. “I don’t know. It’s too soon to tell.”

0 Thank you Brendon Giblin for joining the BRA Morning Zoom

Brendon Giblin joined BRA from Southborough, MA – alongside his 11-year old son.  He is the CEO and second generation principal of Brendon Properties – a custom homebuilder in MetroWest for the past 45-years.  Brendon entered the business 20-years ago and talked to the real estate minded crowd about the importance of learning all facets of the business – acquisition, land, foundation, framing and everything else through the inspection process.

The two-time Boston Marathon runner reflected back to Adams Farms, a development that was a success until the 2008 financial crisis.  Prior to the infamous September day, they were “hitting it” with 40+ presales.  The following 12-months produced 6-sales.  That experience taught the award-winning homebuilder to stay nimble and conserve powder.  While Brendon admitted to some similarities between 08’ and today, he said that the biggest difference is the inability to produce events.  Today, they are focused on individual messaging, while still creating a memorable experience.

Mr. Giblin reminded the virtual group that location is still the number one criteria when selecting a site or a home.  He also said, “Homes are a series of compromises.  What do you really need?  That ‘need’ is different for everyone.”  Brendon explained that his company builds quality homes with a value between $400,000 and $7 million – and that the number one customer request is home automation tools.  Brendon also told us that he is an investor in a few developments in Florida and of the items that they do well in Florida is a “focus on the entrance” – something that he intends to bring to Massachusetts.

Lastly and likely most valuable, we spent time on the importance of philanthropy.  Brendon explained that giving back was a huge part of his father’s life.  Brendon is active with One Mission and Spectrum Health, as well as manages the Giblin Family Foundation, with a focus on helping women, children and families.

0 Boston CRE Doyen Ron Druker: “We’ll Come Back From This”

By Dees Stribling | Bisnow | May 13, 2020

“What keeps you up at night?” a Bisnow webinar audience member asked Ron Druker, Boston commercial real estate luminary and president of The Druker Co.

“Right now, my dog keeps me up at night,” Druker said. “The answer is — I can only control what I can control. Our real estate is good real estate, and even in the depths of all the other recessions, we’ve come back. We’ll come back from this.”

Bisnow’s Boston webinar, A Discussion With Druker Co. President Ron Druker, covered a lot of ground on Tuesday: occupancy and rent collections at the company’s varied portfolio, the history of U.S. economic dislocations going back to World War I, the 1918 Spanish Flu and what landlords should do — and should not do — to meet post-pandemic standards, and his thoughts on the crisis.

“It’s important that we recognize everyone that’s putting themselves on the line, whether it’s truck drivers, UPS, FedEx, nurses, doctors — all the people who are up front,” Druker said. “I think we’re going to be at this for a while.”

The Druker family has been part of Boston real estate for more than a century. Ron Druker’s grandfather, John, got the Drukers into the business nearly 120 years ago, developing the Hotel Kenmore and the Braemore Hotel in Kenmore Square. His son Bertram followed, building the Colonnade Hotel on Huntington Avenue and affordable housing in various parts of Massachusetts.

Ron Druker has carried on the family development business. In the 1980s, his Heritage on the Garden condos were an important part of Back Bay’s resurgence, and in the 2000s, the Atelier 505 development was part of the South End’s revitalization. Most recently, Druker Co.’s 350 Boylston development received approval from the Boston Planning & Development Agency.

Druker, along with co-moderator Wil Catlin of Boston Realty Advisors, spoke about the day some years ago when a startup with big plans wanted to lease an entire building in the Druker Co. portfolio.

The deal gave Druker pause. For one thing, the tenant improvement allowance was about $200/SF, with $70/SF for the lobby and $130/SF for the rest of the space. As an older building, Druker Co. would have also had to spend money on the HVAC system. Those expenses weren’t the worst of it, however. Druker was worried about the company’s long-term staying power.

“I didn’t like the credit, and as it turns out, I’d rather be lucky than good, because they are where they are now,” Druker said.

He nixed the deal. The would-be tenant: WeWork. “They create single-purpose space,” Druker said. “So I guess we were lucky in looking at it the way we did at the time.”

In a less real estate-related anecdote, Druker also mentioned the time he met songwriter and record producer Mark Ronson at a small restaurant in Tokyo, and another time he talked with Keith Richards for two-and-a-half hours at a resort bar in Turks and Caicos. “Two old grandfathers sat and talked about life,” Druker said.

Druker said that in his company’s portfolio, rent payment during the pandemic has varied according to property type. Residential payments have been about 99%, while office payments are in the mid-90% range. Retail, on the other hand, has been at about 50%.

“We’re working with our retail tenants,” he said. “There are smaller retail tenants, some of them real mom-and-pop operations who pay rent predicated on how they did the month before, and we’re working with them. There are other more nationals, and we’re working with them as well.”

With some of the smaller tenants, Druker Co. has specifically tried to help them avail themselves of some of the public subsidies on offer.

“Because we’re not highly leveraged, our portfolio is in good shape, but it’s work,” Druker said. “I’m spending 12 hours a day at my desk. Most of the people I talk to are working harder [than before].”

Regarding the 240K SF project at 350 Boylston, Druker said that his company is making proposals via Zoom, and so far has received two requests for proposals that the company has responded to.

“There’s interest in the building,” Druker said. “The advantage that we have now is that we’re taking steps to make the building more hygienic.”

With only one to four tenants, he said, 350 Boylston will be relatively simple to enter and leave, and that ought to be an advantage for the building as well, he said.

On the other hand, it is possible to go overboard with building modifications in response to the pandemic.

“The protocols relative to cleanliness and social distancing … make sense today,” Druker said. “But to make major physical alterations to a building for something that … will be short term, we don’t believe makes sense.”

0 Bisnow Webinar : Boston Life Sciences State of the Market










Life Sciences may be the least disrupted sector in CRE. With dozens of companies working on treatments, vaccines and research to combat the current health crisis, the life sciences have seen a surge in activity — and funding. As uncertainty grows around the demand for office space, landlords may increasingly look to life sciences as a solution to fill existing space.

Join Bisnow May 19 as we sit down with industry leaders Yanni Tsipis, of WS Development, Duncan Gilkey from the Davis Cos. and Bill Olsen, director of construction at Wise Construction to dive deep into the current Boston life sciences market landscape, highlight recent changes and discuss what aspects of the market will grow the most as a result of the recent surge in research demand.

During this webinar we will discuss:

— What will increasing investment in research mean for Boston lab space?

— How are owners and developers working to meet the new demand?

— How will lab spaces have to adjust to social distancing measures?

— Where is new lab space being built and how is construction progressing?

— What are the largest biotech and pharma companies planning in Boston?

Register HERE.

0 Bisnow Webinar : How to Get Boston Construction Back Underway

Since Mayor Walsh placed all non-essential construction projects on hold, many contractors and construction workers are still without a clear direction. Recent safety tips advised by the city require 6 feet of social distancing, hand washing accessibility, protective gear, etc. However essential projects have still been actively underway without consistent guidelines of how they need to be managed.

Many are looking to leaders currently on the ground for how they are managing essential projects, crews that are currently out of work and what they need in order to transition back into completing projects.

Join Bisnow May 14 as Bill Olson, director of construction of Wise Construction, Bryan Northrop, executive vice president & general manager of Skanska and Frank Callahan, president of Massachusetts Building Council dive deep into how they are managing crews, handling projects deemed essential and what they believe is needed to get construction back underway.

During this webinar we will discuss:

— How to protect crews for projects currently underway?

— How are leaders managing crews that are out of work while construction is on hold?

— How are leaders managing crews that are out of work while construction is on hold?

— What policy changes are needed for workers and contractors to get hammers swinging?

— What can be done right now to prepare for projects opening up again?

Register HERE.

0 The Recession Will Hurt But Bostons Multifamily Market Is Poised For A Quick Recovery

By Drees Stribling | Bisnow | May 8, 2020

The initial shock of the coronavirus pandemic might be past, but that doesn’t mean landlords, tenants, developers or prospective renters and buyers aren’t still trying to cope.

A cornerstone of operating multifamily buildings as safely as possible has been “communicate, communicate, communicate,” Samuels & Associates principal and Chief Operating Officer Leslie Cohen said on Bisnow’s recent webinar, Managing & Protecting Properties: Multifamily During Coronavirus.

“We’ve pivoted to figure out how to continue to build community after the initial shock,” Cohen said. “Now we’re settled into a new normal. The first few weeks were a little fast and furious.”

Whereas the last recession was driven by a banking and wider financial failure, The Collaborative Cos. Managing Director Sue Hawkes said, the coronavirus has hit every aspect of the economy.

“However, I think that’s the good news,” she said. “Without being overly optimistic about Boston, the region has great economic engines. It doesn’t rely on one source of income.”

One of the reasons Boston multifamily was able to recover relatively quickly from the last recession was lack of inventory, Hawkes said, and that is still the case — both for rental and for-sale product. In recent years, the market has been able to absorb 20,000 or 30,000 units a year, with only a few months’ inventory.

The current downturn will impact different Boston multifamily developers differently. Those more highly leveraged, or perhaps with a project that is only 10% or 20% sold, will see softening.

“There’s no question that we’re looking at a potential pro forma escalation of anywhere from six to eight months of absorption, maybe more,” Hawkes said. “The strategy that developers need to look to is their own ability to stay. If they can hang on for the long haul, there’s no reason they can’t get out of this in a reasonably comfortable time frame.”

Boston Realty Advisors Managing Principal Wil Catlin, who co-moderated the event with Bisnow’s Chris Bushnell, asked if millennials, currently dealing with their second economic crisis before they turn 40, are looking to buy residential units in the current climate.

“Millennials by nature are pretty resilient and are comfortable taking risks,” Hawkes said. “As long as they still have a job, they’re pretty comfortable with [buying]. Interest rates have never been more attractive.”

Leasing is also still going on at her for-rent projects, Hawkes said, at least five units a week in some places.

“I’m amazed at the activity in the suburbs,” she added. “We have a project in the Plymouth area that has sold 18 units in the last six weeks. That’s predominantly an empty-nester community, so I think that begs another question: Are we going to see any pushback from people not wanting to live in a dense environment?”

Samuels & Associates communicates through its Yardi platform, RENTCafé, Cohen said, striving to be consistent in reminding residents of what’s going on — such as how package retrieval might be different or status updates on amenity spaces.  Samuels & Associates also uses email, phone and text communications, a method of communication it typically hadn’t done before, she said. The crisis is causing the company to rethink other, older ways of doing business, Cohen said.

“Maybe there’s a way to do leasing differently going forward,” she said. “We have an aggregation of over 1,500 units, so maybe there’s a way to lease differently, rather than having individual agents sitting in individual buildings.”

Cohen said her company isn’t seeing the rent growth it projected before the pandemic, but also believes the slowdown is temporary.

“We’re focused more on retention, incentivizing people to stay,” she said, adding that the company has been able to retain a number of residents who gave their notice in the early days of the pandemic.

“We simply went back to them. [It’s] typically not something we do, but we went back to check in,” Cohen said. “We’re trying to solidify renewals earlier than normal. We’ve often done early bird renewal specials, so that if you renew in 48 hours, it’s at a discounted rate.”