June 25, 2020
Just over a month has passed since the City’s reopening plans began. We know for many of you, that has meant the ability to go back to work or re-open your business, albeit with some modifications. Life looks different now than it did when we posted our first post here in mid-March.
Our staff has resumed in-office operations and we are doing our best to continue to adapt. Our workspace, Nebula, requires masks to be worn, among a multitude of other precautions, and we are similarly requiring masks and social distancing of anyone that enters one of our buildings – whether that be a prospective tenant, maintenance personnel, or construction contractors. We’ve enacted self-guided tours at properties wherever possible, we’re offering digital signature options for new and renewing tenants, and conducting Zoom meetings for discussions with tenants and others.
Much of the flexibility afforded to us by banks during the peak of the pandemic has come to an end. As such, we are looking to resume collecting rent payments on-time and in full beginning in July for as many tenants as possible.
We know that for our commercial tenants in particular, the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus will continue to have effects in the upcoming months. In recognition of that, we are extending the same options that we offered for April, May and June into July for businesses. Once again, we urge you to only utilize these measures if absolutely necessary, and advance notice and communication are key.
If you are a commercial tenant that plans to exercise these options, please let us know before July 1st. For any residential tenants that are unable to resume on-time recurring payments for July that would like to discuss their individual situation, we are asking each to set up and conduct a phone call prior to July 1st.
Stay safe, wash your hands, and wear a mask!
May 21, 2020
This week, St. Louis City and County began easing up restrictions on businesses’ operations as part of Phase I reopening. While we are hopeful that the City’s plan enables businesses like ours to get back on track, we understand that many businesses are not able to open as part of Phase I, and many others are choosing to take a more cautious approach and postpone re-opening dates. Beyond reopening, we know that the road may be a long one as businesses continue to change, adapt, and rebuild. We hope the available resources and relief options have helped each of you weather this storm, and we are prepared to continue to offer flexibility for at least another month.
Similar to last month, for tenants who have paid May rent by the end of the month or have worked out an alternate plan, we are extending all of the same options for June – that is, in order to allow more time and flexibility for tenants to pay by the end of the month rather than at the beginning, we are waiving late fees, allowing partial payments, halting evictions, and suspending the requirements for automatic withdrawal.
While most of you have already been in touch, we continue to appreciate the communication efforts. We again ask that if you need to exercise these options, or if you have specific needs that necessitate an individualized plan, please let us know before June 1st. Advance notice is crucial for us to continue to shift our limited resources and meet our financial obligations.
For our part, we are continuing to service and maintain our buildings and tenants as best as we can. We’ve set up self-guided tours wherever possible, continue to work from home in an effort to encourage social distancing, and require masks to be worn by our staff and maintenance team in public and in any of our buildings and facilities. We’ll keep these measures in place for as long as necessary.
We’d love to hear how you’re doing! Whether you’d like to discuss your businesses’ reopening strategy, chat about available resources, or just talk for the sake of maintaining social interactions, we’re here for you!
April 21, 2020
Since our last update, the City and State have enacted shelter-in-place orders to help ensure the health and safety of residents. Unfortunately, the impact this has had on everyone, especially small businesses, has been crippling.
As the 1st of the month approaches, we recognize the extreme hardships that many of our tenants are experiencing. Last month, we offered several options and exemptions to help lessen the economic impact that we’re all experiencing. For tenants who have paid April rent by the end of the month or have worked out an alternate plan, we are extending all of the same options for May – that is, waiving late fees, allowing partial payments, halting evictions, and suspending the requirements for automatic withdrawal, to allow more time and flexibility to pay by the end of the month instead of at the beginning. Our top priority is working together in finding a way that we can all move forward when the pandemic passes.
If you need to exercise any of these options, or if you have specific needs that necessitate an individual payment plan, please let us know before May 1st. Communication is critically important. The more advance notice we have, the more flexible we can be, as we are continually shifting limited resources on our end to meet our financial obligations. In addition to the measures we’re taking, we’re also actively compiling a list of resources including grants, funds, and loans that are available specifically to impacted businesses, employees, and artists. We will continue to update it.
This is an enormously difficult situation, but our community is already proving its resiliency through its ability to adapt and overcome. We’re inspired by so many of you that are doing just that – Brandin Vaughn & Well Made Workshop churning out masks; Burger809, Teatopia, Saint Louis Hop Shop, and Fritanga adapting their business models for take-out and curbside options; Tenth Life Cat Rescue finding homes and fosters for all of their cats and kittens; Cherokee Street Gallery hosting a collab with local artist Cbabi streamed live on social media; and businesses like Big Heart Tea, Mesa Home, and ButtonMakers working to adapt to an increasingly internet-driven retail world.
Our thoughts are similarly with our residential tenants, many of whom work in healthcare, education, and for small businesses.
We’re in this with you. Hang in there, and let us know how we can help.
March 18, 2020
As the global effects of the coronavirus epidemic continue to evolve and increasingly impact all of us locally, South Side Spaces is committed to the health, safety, and financial wellbeing of our tenants, employees, and the broader community. Many of our residential and small business tenants have reached out asking for guidance in these unprecedented times. We know that businesses in the area are already hurting and are looking at more tough times ahead. Here are the steps South Side Spaces is taking effective immediately to help minimize the impact:
Late Fees Waived
Late fees will be waived during the month of April to allow individuals and businesses time to obtain alternate financing if needed. If possible, please let us know before the 1st of the month that your rent payment will be late so that we have as much time as possible to try and meet our monthly financial obligations to our lenders.
Partial Payments Allowed
We are temporarily suspending the lease requirement that rent be paid in full, and are allowing partial payments. Partial payments will be accepted without penalty during the month of April, enabling tenants to pay what they can. Please use this option responsibly as any deferred rent will still be owed by the end of April unless an alternate plan is arranged in advance. We don’t want tenants to fall too far behind rent, and we don’t want to get too far behind on our obligations either. We are in this together and we want to meet in the middle where we can.
We only proceed with evictions in extreme situations where all other options have been exhausted, so it’s uncommon for us to evict in general. However, we want to assure our tenants that should you run into coronavirus-related financial hardship during the month of April, we will not initiate or exercise residential or commercial evictions as a result.
Temporary Suspension of Automatic Withdrawal
Many leases require or incentivize automatic electronic withdrawal for rent on the 1st business day of the month. During the month of April, we are allowing tenants to suspend automatic withdrawal without penalty. The automatic withdrawal process begins up to 5 days prior to the 1st day of the month (depending on when weekends and holidays fall); if you need us to stop the process, please let us know no later than March 25th.
Please keep in mind that South Side Spaces is also a small, locally owned and independently operated business. We ask that you only use the options above as a last resort so that we can continue to pay our staff and use limited financial resources to help absorb some of the shock for the businesses and individuals that need it most. We have reached out to our lenders to request some flexibility in terms. We’re offering these options with the hope (but with no guarantee) that our banking institutions will offer some leniency to us as well, as our limited cash reserves are insufficient to cover a situation like this. It’s our hope that by working together, we can mitigate our collective risk until additional resources are available.
This is going to take all hands on deck. We expect that will look like a combination of banks, landlords, small businesses, utility companies, and hopefully the government all working together.
Many utility companies are suspending shutoffs and/or forgiving late fees, including Ameren and Spire. Federal disaster loan assistance may also be available from the Small Business Administration to those who qualify.
These are difficult times amidst an ever-evolving crisis. We’re in this with you. Things are changing rapidly and we will continue to keep you informed. Our team is now working remotely from home but remains available during our usual business hours of M-F, 9-5. Communication is key to getting through this. If you expect to need assistance beyond what is outlined here, please contact us directly. Above all, please be safe.