2020 tested the limits of our community, businesses, and individual psyches. At McGuire Development, we directed our focus on operating our business as close to normal under the circumstances to provide the best possible service to our clients and tenants. We worked hard to adapt and implement changes and regulations as they were issued week by week, day by day, and hour by hour in some circumstances.
Reflecting on the many changes 2020 has brought, our team gained new leadership with the promotion of Danielle Eisen Shainbrown to President, Chief Business Officer and David Von Derau Jr. to President, Chief Operating Officer. Danielle & David’s first year leading our team was anything but ordinary; however, 2020 provided some great wins this year. The launch of our new website propelled our firm online with a modern, updated digital headquarters. Numerous successful tenant representation deals were closed and demonstrate McGuire’s continued dedication to client advocacy, and our portfolio occupancy rate climbed to 93%. Owner representation projects for area non-profits wrapped up with Buffalo City Mission, Kids Escaping Drugs, Child & Family Services, and many more enjoying new, modern, efficient facilities. Our 12-story, Class A NYSERDA certified green, mixed use building, Harolds Square, opened on the Commons in Ithaca, NY in December, and we closed out the year with a new project acquisition we are really excited about at 293 Grote Street in North Buffalo. The Buffalo School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management officially opened to the public this year, and received the Best Elementary/Middle/High School/District Project Brick by Brick Award from Buffalo Business First.
At McGuire Development, who we serve shows how we serve. Our integrity and business philosophy builds upon the McGuire Family’s longstanding commitment to outstanding customer service. We pride ourselves on being accountable and available to our tenants, clients, and partners at all times. Being designated a Kids Escaping Drugs Champion Partner this year was a shining moment for our firm. Participating in the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper cleanup sweep initiative in lockdown earlier this year was a great way for our team to get some fresh air safely, while contributing towards improving our community. Sadly, we suffered from the loss of two very important men in 2020: Mark Croce, a force to be reckoned with in the Western New York real estate world and our partner in the Buffalo School of Culinary Arts, and closer to home, our Chairman, Frank McGuire – who set the tone for McGuire’s commitment top notch real estate development, unparalleled customer service, and continual process improvements. Our halls are quieter these days without Frank but we are proud about how both men left their incredible mark on this community. Our continued condolences to both families.
Our asset management team jumped into action to assist our tenants transitioning into safely operating during the COVID-19 outbreak. Health and safety being top priority, our team closely monitored all our spaces, and implemented proactive measures. McGuire Development’s transparent, full service commercial real estate approach means we are here to support our clients and tenants, and share industry perspective and expertise to evaluate exactly what each space needs to provide safe working environments for our tenants and their staffs. Our portfolio of properties encompasses a wide variety of property types, each of which required our asset management team to take on initiatives such as offering creative ventilation solutions to changing office layouts and footprint needs. Ways we have assisted our tenants range from: modifying common spaces in buildings, coordinated deep cleans and HVAC modifications, offered secondary space options to provide for appropriate social distancing, and breaking down waiting rooms for COVID compliance expectations. We have assisted our clients with preparing COVID-compliant janitorial scopes and offer continued consultation as the pandemic evolves and more employees return to their offices. As we move into 2021, our asset management team continues to offer assistance in return to work initiatives and spacing strategies to our tenants.
“Even through the most unexpected, challenging, and frightening times this year, our company stuck together even if we weren’t physically together. Times were very tough and unpredictable for everyone this year but with teamwork, communication, and fiduciary commitment to our clients/tenants, we got through it. We keep going because we care!”- Jessica Pattison, Dispatch Operator Property Management Department at McGuire.
As we look to 2021, our team is involved in a variety of community projects to better serve WNY. These projects range from the new North Buffalo Community Center redevelopment with new senior affordable housing, First Calvary Baptist Church’s expansion and re–development into a community space, our new historic adaptive reuse project at 293 Grote Street, and our partners SAA/EVI will be breaking ground on their housing project at 1100 Michigan Ave at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Our focus on philosophy over fee brought us together with new tenant and owner representation clients, and we can’t wait to be their 2021 fiduciary guides, as well as provide them with our expansive collective experience in all areas.
“In Buffalo I think we’ll see clients taking a much more strategic and thoughtful approach to their real estate needs. We are ready to guide our clients and tenants on best practices for maintaining safe and spacious work environments that are also flexible and cost effective.”- Danielle Shainbrown, President and CBO at McGuire.
What are we expecting in 2021? As the pandemic hopefully starts to wind down with a comprehensive vaccination plan, the need for continued workspace evaluations and implementations will persist with many businesses realizing that office space is much more than just a desk or a cubicle. Applying a unique, individualized approach to office layouts will continue to drive both downsizing and upsizing needs for current and prospective tenants. Creativity will be key moving into 2021 to fill vacancies in otherwise challenging spaces, but if we’re truly honest, the impact COVID-19 is having on commercial real estate may have merely accelerated some struggling brands and business that didn’t lead with an effective digital or distinguishable business model. Embracing change will be the “new normal” in business models, and learning to exercise patience from the panic of the pandemic will keeps businesses flexible and prepared to adapt to different growth opportunities. 2021 at McGuire Development will continue to offer above and beyond opportunities to provide custom, full service real estate solutions, industry expert advice, and more service offerings at our Florida office: McGuire Real Estate Services of Florida!
“Being able to roll with the punches was an important lesson from this year- to be able to adapt to any and all changes while still maintaining a high level of communication and professionalism”- Lynsee Osadchuk, Assistant Controller at McGuire.
A sincere thank you to each of you for your continued support as we’ve worked through these challenging times together. Our WNY workforce has been thrust into a new reality, which will have lasting impacts on how we approach our work environments. We challenge all of you to rewind your 2020, and reflect on the many lessons and even moments of joy you’ve experienced this year. We’re in this together.