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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (August 4, 2017)

Forbes looks at nine international markets that could offer good real estate returns. A New York City landlord loses control of his properties after illegally subletting them through Airbnb, reports the New York Post. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Nine International Areas Real Estate Investors Should Give a Look “Talk with nearly every investment expert, and one of the things they'll encourage is diversification. You don't want all your funds sunk into one area. Real estate isn't any different: There are numerous opportunities in developing — or overlooked — cities, which include the international scene. So where should you look? And what are the draws to that particular region? Here is what members from the Forbes Real Estate Council say.” (Forbes)
  2. Activist Litt Willing to Let HBC Devise Own Plan for Real Estate “Activist investor Jonathan Litt, who is pushing for retailer Hudson's Bay Co to boost its stock by generating more cash from its real-estate holdings, said he is open to letting the retailer come up with its own strategy to unlock value. Litt, who runs the hedge fund Land and Buildings Investment Management LLC that disclosed a 4.3 percent stake in Hudson's Bay in June, told Reuters that he wants the company to provide concrete steps it will take to monetize its real-estate, including a timeline for executing the plan.” (Reuters)
  3. Ten-X to Sell for $1B+ “Ten-X LLC in Irvine will be bought by private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners LP in Boston for more than $1 billion, news reports said. Ten-X was formerly Auction.com; it runs an online real estate transaction marketplace which brokers commercial and residential real estate sales, including hotels and distressed homes. It’s sold more than 300,000 properties for more than $50 billion since its founding in 2007 by Jeffrey Frieden, Robert Friedman and Monte Koch. A company press release described the transaction on undisclosed terms as ‘a majority recapitalization’ of the firm.” (Orange County Business Journal)
  4. Flames Engulf 86-Story Residential Tower in Dubai “A fire that engulfed an externally clad residential tower in the United Arab Emirates’ world-famous Marina in Dubai was under control early on Friday morning, officials said. Civil defence officials said they successfully evacuated the 337-metre (1,105ft) skyscraper, which has 676 apartments. Onlookers filmed the blaze at the Torch Tower, one of the world’s tallest residential buildings, which has 86 floors and is home to many foreign residents. It had been damaged in a fire in 2015.” (The Guardian)
  5. Judge Strips Landlord’s Control over Properties on Airbnb “Beware, landlords who ignore city laws against Airbnb subleasing. In a first-of-its-kind decision, a Manhattan judge Thursday ordered that an independent manager take over two Midtown properties where the owner has allegedly continued to sublease apartments on Airbnb — flouting multiple citations and an injunction ordering him to stop. The state-court decision calls the two properties—at 334 W. 46th St. and 15 W. 55th St —‘public nuisances’ and orders that an independent manager be brought in as receiver.” (New York Post)
  6. Google Village Property Deals Resume in Downtown San Jose “Google’s development partner for a game-changing proposed transit village near Diridon Station in downtown San Jose has scooped up another property that would be used for the vast project, the seller confirmed Thursday. The most recent property bought by TC Agoge Associates — an affiliate controlled by realty firm Trammell Crow, which is Google’s development ally for the transit village — is located at 92 S. Montgomery St. at the corner of West San Fernando Street.” (Mercury News)
  7. This Trump Real Estate Deal Looks Awfully Like Criminal Tax Fraud “President Trump clearly doesn’t want to release his income tax returns to the public. Members of the public and commentators have progressed through stages of outrage, speculation and acceptance that they’ll never see the goods, while others have made attempts to pry the documents free (such as proposed legislation in New York and other states that would require presidential candidates to release their returns). But Trump’s most pressing tax problem may come from somewhere else entirely: a pre-election transfer of property to a company controlled by his son that could run afoul of the IRS.” (The Washington Post)
  8. Beyond Bankruptcy: How Failed Stores Come Back Online “Bankrupt fashion labels are finding that there is life after liquidation—but only if resurrection happens quickly. Investors snapped up Wet Seal, American Apparel and The Limited, betting fickle consumers who long ago stopped visiting their shops would flock to new online-only storefronts.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  9. Irgens Ready to Build 350 KSF Milwaukee Office Tower “In downtown Milwaukee, Irgens has taken a big step forward in its plans for the development of the BMO Harris Financial Center, a 25-story office project to be anchored by BMO Harris Bank’s Wisconsin headquarters. The developer recently completed the purchase of the bank’s current home at 770 N. Water St. and its adjacent parking lot, where the new 349,000-square-foot building will be erected.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  10. Apple Has Triggered This Major Phenomenon That Is Preventing Many Malls from Dying “Apple Stores turn out to be very good neighbors, and have become the new mall anchor store, a role once held by department stores, because they draw lots of foot traffic, which also benefits the smaller stores. In the U.S., there are roughly about 140 million customers with iPhones, estimated Gene Munster, a partner in Loup Ventures in an interview with TheStreet, and those millions usually need to go to a bricks-and-mortar store for service.” (The Street)
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