Gross-ups and COVID: Alpha Office Escalations Solves Complicated Calculation Issues

With news of a potential vaccine on the horizon, the thought of returning to “life as normal” seems more possible than ever. However, the pandemic may have changed some of our behavior permanently, specifically impacting how we think about the safety of our work environment. “For the first time in my life, I find myself unconsciously counting to twenty every time I wash my hands, which I now do more often than ever before,” said Bill Brownfield, Counselor of Real Estate (CRE), Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) and co-author of The Escalation Handbook for Office Buildings with Larry Mayerhofer, CPA. “Extrapolate that behavioral change out to include many millions of office employees and you can quickly conclude that some, probably a lot, will want to work in offices that have an office version of the proverbial Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.” As a result, Brownfield said many office owners and managers are executing new and/or expanded operational protocols designed to improve air quality and safety so tenants will feel comfortable when they return. “Most of their operational adjustments have been implemented by now and are becoming normal daily routines for cleaning, security and social distancing,” Brownfield said. “Some have made capital investments in HVAC upgrades, touchless technologies, UV lighting and other preventive strategies.” In many cases, those operating expenses can be allocated on a pro-rata basis to a property’s tenants, along with their base rent, via escalations. But because leases so often vary, calculating the appropriate share for each tenant accurately can be a challenge. “We know that owners and property staff care deeply about doing the right thing. But the scope of responsibilities for property managers and accountants has expanded so much over the past two decades that they have little time for deep dives. They’re pedaling as fast as they can, so they need new tools to automate and speed up work processes,” said Brownfield. Click to read more at