Levin year-end report details how retail specialists coped with pandemic’s effect on real estate sector

Levin Management Corp. grappled with the pandemic-related challenges plaguing retail real estate in 2020, it said in its year-end report, but nevertheless achieved some legitimate highlights despite COVID-19.

The North Plainfield-based commercial real estate services firm, which focuses on the retail sector, said it secured nearly 700,000 square feet of new leases and renewals for the year, and gained new leasing and management assignments, as well. That also allowed the company to hire and promote a number employees, it added.

“Despite the economic uncertainty and business-related disruptions facing our industry since March, there has been progress — with certain key dynamics coming into sharpened focus,” LMC CEO Matthew Harding said in a prepared statement. “For example, positive landlord/tenant relations have always been important. During 2020, as tenants worked to navigate an incredibly difficult environment, we approached everything on a very granular basis, reviewing the distinctive needs and nature of each business. Likewise, we have done the same with our landlord clients and their individual properties to help them best respond to tenant requests and operational needs.”

The company said it signed anchor leases with companies including Burlington Stores, Aqui Market and Planet Fitness, among others, and even scored a renewal with Hall’s Warehouse Corp. in a nonretail highlight.

LMC also continued to expand its portfolio, which includes 110 properties totaling nearly 15.5 million square feet. During the year, the firm was chosen as leasing and managing agent for retail centers in Newark and Edgewater, among others.

“Making a management transition is a significant decision for any property owner,” Joseph Lowry, LMC senior vice president of acquisitions and business development, said in a statement. “In the current retail and economic climate, it also involves a great deal of trust.”

New hires and promotions included the advancement of Sidney Singer, formerly senior leasing representative, to vice president of leasing.