During his comments last week at a global real estate conference sponsored by Reuters, Venable partner Greg Cross told attendees to expect another wave of commercial real estate bankruptcies in the United States, particularly in the hospitality, retail and office building sectors.
"I think there will be another wave of large real estate investment trust (REIT) and large real estate bankruptcies" over the next year, said Cross, who leads Venable’s Bankruptcy Practice Group.
Cross told attendees that the conditions were perfect for “cramdowns,” which allow companies to reduce the principal on an outstanding mortgage to the current value and cut interest rates. He added that those conditions could lead many companies to file Chapter 11 bankruptcies.
"If you do a cramdown plan, you're looking for a low interest-rate environment and low valuation. It seems to be the perfect time for those kinds of bankruptcies. So far there have not been as many as I would have forecast," said Cross.
"This, and the six months after, is the year of bankruptcy," he added.
Cross predicted that hotels and other hospitality properties would be hard hit. Retail and office buildings, he said, will also suffer. One type of property Cross thinks the crunch will miss are multifamily apartment buildings, which he called “the most stable right now."