By Jacqueline Quynh

DENVER (CBS4)– “For Lease” signs are popping up all over the Denver metro area, and that may be an indicator of how the economy is recovering. During the coronavirus pandemic, the economy has been uncertain with many businesses closing.

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“My expectations are that we may not hire as many people back, but we’ve also gotten used to remote work,” said University of Denver College of Business Associate Professor Ron Throupe.

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The vacant commercial and office spaces now available are signs of a sluggish economy.

“You are going to see that empty for a bit, you’re going to have some entrepreneurs come in and try to fill those niche gaps, whatever those industries are,” Throupe explained.

It comes as no surprise that 2021 is off to a slow start because of the ongoing pandemic.

“In this particular case, this is a brand new building that we got finished in July of last year and being on 17th Avenue and by the hospitals, we thought this thing would be leased up right away,” Pat Henry said as he showed CBS4 his commercial space.

Henry owns Park 17th and other buildings around Denver.

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“We’re going to have a lot of second, third-generation retail space available and if you have the goal of opening up a restaurant, I think right now landlords are very, very interested,” he said.

In other words, new lease terms are more negotiable now than ever. However, some landlords are also working to keep existing tenants.

“For instance, as landlords, you’re changing your mindset. We’re starting to say until we get through this pandemic lets work out what we think a percentage of gross sales is versus just a flat rate,” Henry explained.

He hopes the roll out of mass vaccinations will make a difference.

“There’s only so much Amazon and computer time that you want to shop online, people still want to go out and touch and feel and meet,” he added.

(credit: CBS)

The professor has watched recovery before, this one may look a lot different.

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“This is going to be an evolving story as the government or state gets involved in various levels as how many businesses survive and how many people they can keep hired,” Throupe said.

Jacqueline Quynh