Mathew Isaac (name changed), who own commercial spaces on MG Road, said, “During the pre-Covid times, there were commercial establishments in Kochi that required 20,000 sq feet space for their running their offices. Now there is decline of 30-40% in this requirement, and they are looking for smaller spaces.”
Even as the economy struggles to get back, property owners are hopeful that scenario will improve after a couple of months and businesses would bounce back. Those who want buildings for rent are quoting lower rates as it has become nearly impossible for them to meet operational expenses. “The rentals depend on how furnished these spaces are and also on which floor are these spaces located. Ground floor fetches the highest rent. It is close to Rs 100 a sq feet and as it goes to the top floors, the rentals go lower and lower,” said manager of a retail outlet.
Traders say those who have plans to open new stores in the city have put such projects on hold. This is because people are not sure of investing in the market in the current situation. “May be two or three months later they will open their stores,” Isaac said.
The merchant community view the relaxations as a positive sign. When people start moving freely and public transport opening up the traders will launch new businesses or projects. “The shutdown cannot continue for ever. It will kill retailers. There should be some parallel plan to revive the business while tackling Covid-19. By wearing masks and following all precautions stated by the government we would be able to overcome this financial crisis,” said Haji Ahamed, an investor.