Mack-Cali Update Offers Clarity Into COVID-19 Impact on Real Estate

Hyatt Regency Jersey City
Mack-Cali’s Hyatt Regency in Jersey City is currently closed. Photo by Jared Kofsky/Jersey Digs.

One of the most prominent real estate investment companies in Jersey City is reporting mostly good news in terms of rent collections but has seen a few of their other ventures dip a bit as realities of the coronavirus pandemic sink in.

Last week, Mack-Cali updated shareholders during an earnings call that was held during what is unquestionably a tough economic environment. The news wasn’t all bad; as of April 20, the company says they’ve collected approximately 90% of all commercial rents due and about 96% of rents from residential tenants at their properties were paid through the month.

The company’s multi-family portfolio has fared the best recently, as it has a current percentage leased rate of 95%. Per a transcript of the earning call released by The Motley Fool, Mack-Cali’s hotel properties have slumped in part due to the EnVue in Weehawken and the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City being closed during the month of April.

Mack-Cali’s Residence Inn at Port Imperial remains open but with an average April occupancy rate at 65%. The company has donated 25% of the property’s rooms for use by regional front-line healthcare workers, also providing them with meals each day.

Michael DeMarco, CEO of Mack-Cali, noted during his remarks that hotel properties account for just 4% of the company’s holdings. Other ventures that have suffered a hit during COVID-19 include Mack-Cali’s retail and parking offerings, which taken together account for about 6% of the company’s business.

“We are living in an unprecedented time and our organization has made appropriate adjustments to help our residents, tenants and community navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” DeMarco said in a statement. “Operationally we have implemented the recommended protocols to facilitate the health and safety of our tenants, residents and employees. We have taken the necessary precautions across all of our properties to ensure we can provide essential services to our tenants and residents in a safe and timely manner.”

COVID-19 has largely curtailed construction activity at several Mack-Cali owned development sites, including two projects in Weehawken’s Port Imperial neighborhood. Governor Murphy signed an Executive Order aiming to halt non-essential construction throughout the state on April 8, but Mack-Cali has continued to work on the 57-story The Charlotte development, as it is exempt from the order due to it including a public school. The company expects that project to be completed during the first quarter of 2022.


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