While retail has taken the brunt of the coronavirus' repercussions, that hasn't stopped refinancing within the sector. Although it is true that various stay-at-home orders hurt retail investment sales transactions in the early days of the pandemic, insurance companies and local bank lenders kept capital at the ready for retail refis.

"There is a myth that retail is unfinanceable today and that's absolutely untrue," said Christopher Drew, senior managing director, capital markets, JLL Americas. "When structured appropriately, plenty of financing is available to investors. In fact, certain lenders like local and regional banks never stopped lending. Lenders seek the same characteristics for retail that investors pursue, which is well-located assets with essential tenancy."

This means lenders and investors are often looking beyond primary markets and for opportunities such as grocery-anchored retail with limited competition. They are also interested in strong sponsorship which plays a vital role in closing transactions, because lenders evaluate whether a borrower can maintain the property and tenant relationships.

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Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown is an editor for the south and west regions of GlobeSt.com. She has 25-plus years of real estate experience, with a regional PR role at Grubb & Ellis and a national communications position at MMI. Brown also spent 10 years as executive director at NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area chapter, where she led the organization to achieving its first national award honors and recognition on Capitol Hill. She has written extensively on commercial real estate topics and edited numerous pieces on the subject.