By Mike Schueler, Chairman and CEO Schueler Group.
Predicting the future during challenging times requires experience and knowledge, not a crystal ball. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives and businesses in many ways. We are fortunate that our business of commercial real estate, construction and development has continued to do well in these unprecedented times.
“History has taught us that during times of crisis we need to adjust our thinking, as well as our strategies and actions, to better enable us to adapt to change. It also forces us to take stock of not just where we are going, but where we have been. ” Mike Schueler
I have been in the real estate business for 47 years. Over the years, we have bought thousands of acres of land in Warren and Butler Counties bordering Interstates 71 and 75. Our company was founded by a man who had great vision, who perceived the development of a “super city” stretching from Cincinnati to Dayton. We have witnessed these cities expanding their borders to include shopping centers, dining options, hospitals, entertainment centers with growing multi-family and residential communities. Our founder’s vision is becoming a reality.
As we look to the future, businesses need to recognize the ever-changing needs and values of their clients. More and more people are looking to create home and work lifestyles that include green space, clean bodies of water to enjoy leisure activities, health organizations close-by, and non-traditional working arrangements. A business’ job is to listen and provide solutions to whatever their clients’ needs may be, and having the foresight to know those needs will likely change in the future.
It is predicted that as more people continue to work from home, even in a post-pandemic environment, there will be more value in industrial, data center, life science, and single-family homes. Suburban life is more attractive than ever. Families are seeking better and more affordable education, community connection, and access to nature. Retail structures and office design will require new concepts.
As the economy strengthens, industry will continue to grow, resulting in more business development and construction. Thinking “green” will be even more critical, creating structures that conserve, versus abuse, the earth’s energy. There will be growing emphasis on ventilation and office structures that focus on occupant comfort, health, and wellbeing. We have already completed two buildings for a local company that are designed to operate at zero energy.
As we look ahead at the economy, we see positive indicators:
- Economic forecasters are optimistic, predicting 2021 to be a year of growth.
- Economic recovery is in-process as businesses begin to re-open.
- The global economy will rebound, and a “bullish” America is predicted for 2024.
Source: Connor Lokar, ITR Economics & Findings from The Goering Center 2020 Economic Study.
As we saw many businesses struggle to keep their doors open, our business remained strong in 2020. Our office remained open throughout the year, and we did not have to lay off any employees. Construction projects have continued, and sales and development projects have been steady. We count our lucky stars to be moving full speed ahead. We predict 2021 will be a year of growth and recovery in many business sectors and we look forward to a large slate of upcoming projects.
Just as our founder kept an eye on what the future holds for our industry, we too look ahead, and we see a bright light on the horizon.
Business photo created by mindandi – www.freepik.com
Article Written and Published for the Goering Center at the University of Cincinnati.