10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (February 15, 2018)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he is working to fix the carried interest loophole, according to the New York Post. The IRS and the U.S. Justice Department have issued subpoenas for Kushner Cos. investors and lenders, reports Bloomberg. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Mnuchin Promises to Fix Hedge Fund Loophole “Hedge funds that thought they outsmarted the tax man may soon be in for a rude awakening. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that he is working with the Internal Revenue Service to make sure hedge funds don’t take advantage of a seeming loophole in the tax code that allows them to pay lower taxes on carried interest profits.” (New York Post)
  2. Skyscrapers Face the Apocalypse “On an ordinary day, George Dotzler may deal with wind speeds equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane, torrential rains akin to a monsoon and seismic shifts that feel like an earthquake. Rounding out the day could involve a heat wave and an arctic blast. Mr. Dotzler, 58, is the director of operations for the Construction Research Laboratory, where builders, developers and architects go to test the durability and stability of glass building facades, called curtain walls.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  3. The Cities on the Verge of a Housing Bubble (San Francisco Isn’t One of Them) “UBS’s 2017 Global Real Estate Bubble Index lists the cities whose housing markets are at greatest risk of becoming bubbles that could eventually deflate, or worse. The index scores come from the weighted average of other common subindexes, including changes in the price-to-income ratio and the mortgage-to-GDP ratio. While San Francisco’s market was listed as ‘overvalued,’ it is not deemed a ‘bubble risk.’ In San Francisco, housing prices have gone up 65% over the past five years, not enough to make the city the most expensive place in the U.S. to buy a home.” (MarketWatch)
  4. Kushner Investors Subpoenaed by U.S. Tax Authorities, Source Says “The Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department issued the subpoenas within the past year, according to the person. The tax inquiry appears unrelated to other investigations that have since burst into public view. It began before Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed in May to investigate Russian election meddling. In a separate action around that time, U.S. prosecutors in Brooklyn sought information from Kushner Cos. about its use of a foreign visa program.” (Bloomberg)
  5. JC Penney to Close 8 Stores in 2018. Here’s Where They Are “J.C. Penney is anticipating closing eight of its department stores across the U.S. this year, a spokesman told CNBC. It's part of the company's ongoing plan to right-size J.C. Penney's store fleet as more sales move online. It operates roughly 875 department stores today. That's after the retailer shuttered nearly 140 stores throughout 2017. Earlier this week, J.C. Penney said it would also close one of its fulfillment centers in Wisconsin this summer, eliminating more than 600 jobs as a result.” (CNBC)
  6. These Senior Housing Projects Are Nicer Than Your Home “Dubbed the “silver tsunami,” some 12 residential projects catering solely to seniors are bursting through New York City’s pipeline, bringing brand-new digs to those in their golden years that are a far cry from institutional nursing homes. The wave of construction is largely thanks to graying baby boomers who prefer aging in urban settings. So now this overlooked submarket — which fell out of favor due to a preference for traditional condo and rental construction — is showing youthful vigor.” (New York Post)
  7. What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Apartment Property Managers “If you are looking for a way to diversify your portfolio while building wealth for the future, buying an apartment building could help you achieve both goals. There are enormous advantages to owning rental property, and investing in a fully-rented apartment building could bring you a steady stream of rental income — money you could use to supplement your retirement income, boost your savings and help you prepare for the future.” (Forbes)
  8. Can Vornado Find a Buyer at 666 Fifth Avenue? “Vornado still faces two big hurdles specific to selling the property: Firstly, typical buyers of minority stakes in trophy towers tend to go for more or less fully leased office buildings, and 666 Fifth has a relatively high vacancy rate. Minority-stake investors also often come from overseas, which could create complications for a company with family ties to the White House as well as unwanted public scrutiny for the buyer.” (The Real Deal)
  9. World Class Buys 1.3 MSF Austin Campus “One of the most notable office properties in Austin, has just come under new ownership. World Class Property Co. recently completed the acquisition of 3M Austin Center, the 1.3 million-square-foot home of consumer products manufacturer 3M’s electrical markets division. 3M will continue to occupy space at the property for the remainder of 2018.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  10. Chinese Firm Buys Big Stake in GNC “GNC, which has been working to turnaround its business, has entered into a strategic partnership and joint venture with a leading pharmaceutical company in China. Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Holding Co. (‘Hayao’) will invest approximately $300 million in GNC, becoming the single largest shareholder in the U.S. vitamins and supplements retailer. Hayao will own approximately 40% of the company’s stock.” (Chain Store Age)
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