What has been the biggest challenge in your role this year and looking ahead?
Pacific Retail has pivoted our business away from being entirely focused on investors and equity to broadening our ability to partner with investor and operator loan services to manage well-positioned retail and mixed-use properties that need attention. In 2020, we received a spike in direct outreach from bond holders inquiring about distressed debt, looking for opportunities to densify sites. This pattern challenged our current mode of operating and, because of our ability to be nimble and proactive, Pacific Retail was able to seize the opportunity to expand the core business.
With so many changes in 2020, what’s one new goal or responsibility for you personally?
Getting in shape! Now that I’m no longer living on Delta airlines and out of a suitcase every week, I’ve taken up a fitness routine. As my new schedule became more manageable this year, I was able to add Peloton, a trainer, and surfing with my daughters into my day-to-day.
#1 change or challenge for PRCP field teams in the last 6 months:
Teams were faced with a massive challenge of rent collections through a shutdown and working through various rent concessions in 2020. And they’re getting it done!
In 2020, what has your most significant learning about our industry or the world?
I’m amazed how rapidly the pandemic accelerated trends and how quickly humans adapted to the new normal. I’m also amazed at the lack of vision from many organizations and people. The PRCP approach has always been proactive, with the nimbleness to pivot our models rapidly to adapt. This unique ability serves our partners, our assets, and our regional communities. When trends that were clearly predicted to evolve in the retail and financial industries over the next few years suddenly accelerated exponentially, playing out over a 6-month period vs. in 5 years as previously predicted, we were able to lead the industry in our response to that acceleration. It’s been an important reminder to – even during difficult global times – stay in a creative mindset, be nimble, and keep it fun to find joy in every day. It’s how we move forward.
What opportunities has 2020 created for shopping centers?
This year really called for creative solutions in every aspect of business. An out-of-the-box approach is critical as business and social environments change. The evolutions we are seeing this year are opportunities to listen new needs and implement new solutions.
What’s the biggest opportunity the company is pursuing in Q4 2020?
While 2020 has brought immense challenges, the pandemic has also presented opportunities for growth. The biggest opportunity we’re pursuing is to grow the company’s servicing business and asset management business substantially. Pacific Retail will be transitioning seven Starwood assets over the next 60 days into our portfolio. We also have a number of additional assets in the pipeline, so we expect a significant and growing development platform.
Steve Plenge is responsible for the strategic direction of Pacific Retail Capital Partners and oversees the firm’s strategies, acquisition activities, capital sourcing efforts, and development programs nationwide.