Daily Herald: Woodbury Corporation learned many lessons during rollercoaster 2020

Woodbury Corporation, owners of University Place mall in Orem and several other malls, hotels and businesses had a rollercoaster year in 2020.

Danny Woodbury, director of leasing with Woodbury, reports on how they weathered the COVID-19 storm and what they have learned through a worldwide pandemic that may help other retailers.

“Our business is based on a simple assumption — that people will leave their homes to work, shop, play and travel,” Woodbury said. “For the first time in our 101-year history, this assumption failed.”

Woodbury said May was the worst month on record in a variety of metrics.

“Our hotel occupancy was in the single digits and nearly 40% of our retail tenants failed to make their rent payment,” Woodbury said. “Our property management and leasing team have been overwhelmed by rent relief requests and notices of tenant bankruptcy.”

As the pandemic ravaged the country, Woodbury said he was continually surprised that their commercial leasing activity never dried up completely.

“It slowed to a trickle in April and May, but then showed bursts of activity by the end of the summer,” Woodbury said. “Leasing continued to ramp up as we reached 1.3 million square feet leased, the most in our company’s history.”

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