YP Shares COVID-19 Experiences with DBJ

By Taylor Tompkins  – Data Reporter, Dallas Business Journal

May 31, 2020, 6:05pm EDT

Managing partners Kathy Permenter and Moody Younger have been spending a lot of time on the phone since the beginning of the pandemic.

Once closures began, the pair in charge of Younger Partners began checking on employees and clients. Phone calls ran the gamut — checking on families, comparing notes on what others were hearing in the market and understanding the long-lasting impacts of the shut downs caused by the outbreak.

“Everything that we were working on all the sudden changed,” Younger said.

Uncertainty around construction and moving offices caused a number of the boutique commercial real estate firm’s deals to stall.

“We had several deals that I think had this not occurred, (we) would have made different choices and would have proceeded in different ways,” Permenter said. “I think deals that were in the signature stage — some of those some of those didn’t even go through.”

Younger Partners weren’t the only ones seeing a hesitation to buy or lease space. Dallas-Fort Worth experienced negative net office absorption for the first time in more than two years during the first quarter of 2020.

By the end of April, though, Younger Partners was starting to see movement again in the market.

“Life is coming back into (the market) a little bit,” Younger said in late April. “People are engaging more and over the next month you’ll definitely see people start to stick their toe in the water.”

Industrial transactions for Younger Partners remained steady through the bulk of the COVID-19 interruption. A slowdown in its land business was caused by planning and zoning delays on the local government level, Younger said.

The company also has hopes that the outbreak will create high demand for its leasing services throughout the summer.

“There have been multiple office buildings that haven’t performed as the investors originally anticipated,” Younger said. “Now with what’s happened with COVID-19, they’ve just really been put on hold, and so they still haven’t performed. And so, I think, they’re looking for companies that are creative and energetic to take over.”

The firm expects most of revenue that it had anticipated in the spring and early summer months will be pushed back to the third quarter.

“Especially in Dallas, (real estate firms) really kind of design yourself around recessions so that you can make it through them,” Younger said. “This is a different cause, but it’s really a recession. In our business, revenue isn’t consistent, and it bumps along so you have to keep more capital on hand just for those times when there is a recession and you have to manage a company with limited revenue.”

This story is part of a national series from the Business Journals’ 44 newsrooms across the country. Click here to read all 247 stories. The Younger Partners article can be seen here.