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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (April 11, 2018)

Food halls are attracting shoppers to malls, according to CNBC. Moneyish looks at the best markets for millennials. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. One Attraction Still Drawing Shoppers to Malls: Food “You might've noticed more and more mall food courts are changing, ditching fast-food chains for local eateries. And that's not on accident. Mall owners say they've been steadily increasing the percentage of retail square footage at any given property dedicated to food and beverage, creating new food halls. The push to make these changes is compelling, industry experts have told CNBC. The goal is to drive traffic to the property and keep shoppers lingering longer.” (CNBC)
  2. Here Are the Best Place to Live for Millennials—and the Worst “Welcome to the millennial capital. The District of Columbia is the best place for young 20-somethings and young 30-somethings to live, according to WalletHub’s Best & Worst States for Millennials report released on Tuesday. The list ranked each state and D.C. by categories including Affordability, Education & Health, Quality of Life, Economic Health and Civic Engagement. It also factored in 30 key metrics, including the share of millennials in each state, the millennial unemployment rate and the millennial voter-turnout rate. The nation’s capital was the overall top spot.” (Moneyish)
  3. The Demographics Driving Real Estate Investments in Non-Gateway Cities “Real estate investors have long been attracted to office investments in prime business centers of the U.S. gateway markets, Boston, New York City, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. However, there is a demographic shift underway that is driving interest in office investment opportunities in non-gateway cities — a trend that cannot be solely attributed to the high prices and significant competition in most major markets.” (Pensions & Investments)
  4. WeWork Rival Knotel Is Now Valued at $500M “Knotel closed a $70 million in a Series B funding round on Tuesday, with plans to expand rapidly and muster a serious challenge to industry leader WeWork. The flexible office space startup led by Amol Sarva has now raised $100 million between two seed rounds, and is valued at $500 million, according to research firm Pitchbook. Knotel, which in the past two years has leased more than 1.1 million square feet in New York, San Francisco and London, said the new funding will allow the company to double in size.” (The Real Deal)
  5. House Prices Are Moving in Tandem Across the World, and That Creates Risks, IMF Finds “When do rapidly rising house prices present a problem? According to a study from the International Monetary Fund, the recent run-up in prices, particularly in 2017, may be cause for concern. In 2017, economic growth accelerated in 120 countries, accounting for three-quarters of world GDP, the IMF said in a paper out Tuesday. Fund researchers call that “the broadest synchronized global growth upsurge since 2010.” Such a widespread boost to economic activity has the effect of increasing demand for housing, helping boost prices higher.” (MarketWatch)
  6. New York City Public Housing Chief to Resign “The head of New York City’s embattled public housing agency is expected to formally announce her resignation Tuesday. Shola Olatoye, who has led the agency since 2014, has faced persistent criticism from lawmakers and advocates in recent months over her handling of infrastructure problems, including mold, lead paint, and heat and water issues, at the New York City Housing Authority. The agency’s buildings house about 400,000 New Yorkers.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  7. 16 Sears Stores Are Being Auctioned Off Online “More than a dozen of Sears Holdings' stores are being auctioned off online. Commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield has teamed up with Real Insight Marketplace, an online bidding platform, to help unwind some of the department store chain's assets. The 16 properties (all under the Sears banner, not Kmart), which were reviewed by CNBC, are mostly attached to malls and located in suburban markets.” (CNBC)
  8. Major California Housing Bill Narrowed Before its First Legislative Debate “Under the newly amended Senate Bill 827 from Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), cities would be allowed to restrict building heights to four or five stories, down from a maximum of eight stories, within a half-mile of rail and ferry stops. Wiener also limited changes surrounding bus stops. The new version of the bill wouldn’t mandate height increases around bus stops, instead allowing for increased density and lower parking requirements. It also would apply only at bus stops with frequent service throughout the day, rather than just during rush hour.” (Los Angeles Times)
  9. Real Estate Investors Plead Guilty to Scheme to Rig Public Foreclosure Auctions “More Gulf Coast real estate investors have pleaded guilty to a scheme to rig bids at foreclosure auctions. Kevin Moore, Chad Nichols and Terry Tolar pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Gulfport for their roles in a conspiracy to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Mississippi, the U.S.Department of Justice has announced. The guilty pleas by the three bring the number of real estate investors who have pleaded guilty to five in the last two months.” (Clarion Ledger)
  10. Ashford Hospitality Completes 22-Hotel Portfolio Refi “Ashford Hospitality Trust has refinanced 22 hotels in a new loan totaling $985 million, as it continues to take advantage of the lending environment that will allow the REIT to save about $11 million annually in interest. The portfolio was part of a mortgage loan known as the Highland Pool loan that had an existing outstanding balance of approximately $972 million and a final maturity date of April 2021.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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