Vacant offices. Shuttered restaurants. Empty hotels. And a lot of vacant Beacon Hill apartments for rent.
The pressure on the Boston real estate market was relentless this year as the pandemic took down struggling sectors — like boutique stores on Charles and Newbury Street, Except for a few blessed sectors, such as, Amazon, fiascos were unavoidable.
A Penney for your retail chain
For brick-and-mortar stores, the pandemic piled on to a retail apocalypse triggered by the e-commerce boom. Shutdowns and infection fears accelerated online shopping’s gains, and 25,000 stores were expected to close as a result of Covid.
Retail giants were among them: J.C. Penney filed for Chapter 11 in mid-May and has since closed 150 locations.
Other retail bankruptcies included Neiman Marcus, Ascena Retail Group and GNC, while many other stores, including Macy’s and Gap, pulled out of malls and pared down their store counts. Home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s did thrive in 2020, but for the foreseeable future, it’s Amazon’s world.