The developer behind the Hudson Yards project says hotels and retail stores will be hit with a “wave of defaults” as the coronavirus batters the U.S. economy.
Jeff Blau, chief executive officer of New York-based Related Cos., said that if landlords can’t collect rent, the turmoil will soon cascade to banks.
“Once that ecosystem of rent to expenses to interest to the banks gets broken at one part of the chain, ultimately it’s going to be a problem at the banks,” Blau said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.
While lenders have been using forbearance programs to allow tenants to delay rent payments, the lack of money flowing will “quickly become credit problems” as the value of underlying assets falls and landlords can’t service their debt, Blau said.
Related, which was founded by billionaire Stephen Ross, owns real estate across the U.S., including hotels and retail properties. Its massive Hudson Yards project is remaking Manhattan’s far west side, with office towers, residential buildings and a high-end shopping mall.
Related said earlier this month that about a quarter of its retail tenants had paid rent in April.
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