In March and April, Claudio Mekler, the owner of five retail centers in South Florida, was busy. As COVID-19 was forcing his tenants to close their businesses, he was focused on working out forbearance deals with them.
“When making the decisions on forbearance, we analyzed each case and made one-on-one decisions based on real data,” said Mekler, CEO and founder of Sunrise-based Miami Manager. “We negotiated agreements that benefited the tenant, our investors and our lenders.”
That strategy mitigated the immediate need for rent relief. Mekler took a personalized approach to each situation. For instance, if a tenant paid six months in advance, he would reduce the rent by 50 percent. He let a tenant who was halfway through construction of a new store defer rent payments in April and May so they would only have to pay the common area maintenance, or CAM, fees during that time.
“Another tenant paid us 50 percent of the rent plus the CAM in April, May and June,” Mekler said. “In July, the business was to begin paying full rent again. Then in January, February and March 2021, that tenant will pay full rent plus installments of the deferred rent.”
As Mekler has worked through agreements with current tenants, he is still approached by companies interested in leasing space in the shopping centers that he owns, manages and leases in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
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