In a Q&A, Joel Pustmueller, managing director and agency leasing co-lead at JLL, discusses how the Dallas region stacks up to other major metros, how the pandemic is impacting corporate relocations, and what changes he’s seeing. “Our tenants are evaluating their utilization of space going forward and the extent to which they can continue to implement a mobile workforce strategy while maintaining culture and collaboration,” Pustmueller says.
How would you compare the Dallas region to other major metros in terms of a relocation market right now?
Dallas clearly seems to be one of the favored areas for consideration for corporate relocations in the U.S. Reported inquiries by our economic development agencies are up by a significant multiple over this period last year.
Has the pandemic highlighted particular strengths or weaknesses? Has it created any new opportunities for the region, in terms of attracting companies?
I think the pandemic has simply emphasized the reasons Dallas has been consistently recruiting corporate relocations from across the country, but in particular, the spread-out nature of the region could be an appealing alternative for tenants coming from dense urban environments.
How might the pandemic create relocation opportunities for companies?
The pandemic has shifted some priorities of what tenants are looking for to an emphasis on wellness, safety, security, and control over their office environments. We could see an increased focus on single-tenant build-to-suit projects over the next couple of years.
What kinds of deals are we likely to see arise in 2020 and 2021?
Leasing velocity has definitely slowed but is expected to increase to more normal levels coming out of the summer. It’s possible that there will be some pent-up demand from decisions that were put on hold after the tide turns.
What incentives are most important to your clients right now, and how have they changed in the pandemic?
Our tenants are evaluating their utilization of space going forward and the extent to which they can continue to implement a mobile workforce strategy while maintaining culture and collaboration. It is really too early to determine which direction the trend will go.
A version of this story first published in the Summer 2020 edition of the Dallas-Fort Worth Real Estate Review.
Sandra Engelland contributed to this report.
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