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

Tech giants are investing in affordable housing in Silicon Valley, reports CNBC. The New York Times looks at Ann Arbor, Mich. As it becomes a driverless-car testing ground. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Facebook and Google are Both Building More Affordable Housing in Silicon Valley “One day, Facebook employees will only have to cross the street to commute to the tech giant's Menlo Park headquarters. In a blog post on Friday, Facebook announced plans to turn the 56-acre Menlo Science & Technology Park it bought in 2015 into a company town, dubbed the Willow Campus. Located across the street from the company's current campus, it will include a grocery store, pharmacy and shopping center.” (CNBC)
  2. When it Comes to L.A. Development Projects, Does Anyone Really Care What the Neighbors Think? “As the city of Los Angeles sets its sights on increased density to accommodate our ever-growing population, a proposed five-story apartment complex at the top of the block — where Gateway, Pico and Exposition boulevards converge — has many nearby homeowners worried that the character of their peaceful, low-slung neighborhood will be lost in the shadow of a looming apartment complex. They are particularly upset because the city has given the developer — at no cost — a 100-foot alley that divides the land into two separate parcels.” (Los Angeles Times)
  3. Michigan’s New Motor City—Ann Arbor as a Driverless-Car Hub “As the world looks ahead to a future of interconnected, self-driving cars, this college town 40 miles west of Detroit has emerged as a one-of-a-kind, living laboratory for the technologies that will pave the way. Here, it is not uncommon to see self-driving Ford Fusions or Lexus sedans winding their way through downtown streets and busy intersections, occupied by engineers with eyes focused more on laptops and test equipment than the roadway.” (The New York Times)
  4. House Oversight Committee Investigated HUD Brooklyn Housing Co-Owned by Trump for Possible Conflicts of Interest “The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has opened an inquiry into the many potential conflicts of interest involved in President Trump’s financial interest in the huge Brooklyn apartment complex known as Starrett City. The complex, located in Brooklyn by the Belt Parkway, receives millions of dollars in subsidies from his administration and is facing an inspection by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) in the coming weeks.” (New York Daily News)
  5. Bay Area Property Assessments Hit $1.6 Trillion After 7.4% Rise “Thanks to new construction, rising real estate prices and higher inflation, the assessed value of Bay Area real and personal property rose to about $1.6 trillion for 2017-18, up by $110 billion, or 7.4 percent, from the year before. That’s according to reports from county assessors, who generally must complete their roll by July 1 each year. The roll is the assessed value (which is not the market value) of all taxable property as of Jan. 1 the same year. The vast majority of taxable property is residential and commercial real estate.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  6. Boulder County Area Malls Turn Doom-and-Gloom Retail Forecast on its Head “It may be that the mall of the future looks a lot like those already present in the Boulder County area. Operators, enjoying a time of rapid population and economic expansion, are shunning traditional retailers and bringing in a mix of office, entertainment and food tenants to bolster revenue while still offering a more traditional mall experience with dozens of clothing merchants. ‘This is a vibrant, growing market,’ said Kim Campbell, property manager for FlatIron Crossing. ‘More people, more rooftops equal strong retail sales, and malls are thriving.’” (Times-Call)
  7. Black’s Money: A Bizarre Co-Working Scheme and the Global Rise of Online Real Estate Fraud “On the surface, Bar Works is just another co-working company. Wedged between Seventh Avenue and Morton Street, with large windows and arching brick walls inside, the street-level space could make for a quaint restaurant. Instead it’s got bland desks dotted with telephones, wheely chairs covered in gray velvet, and a fully-stocked bar. It calls itself a ‘workspace with vibe,’ a fair description if the vibe you’re going for is a cross between a WeWork, a dive bar and an airport terminal. In reality, however, the space, along with other Bar Works locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami and Istanbul, served as a front for Renwick Robert Haddow, a British career fraudster.” (The Real Deal)
  8. Nation’s Greenest Office Markets: CBRE Report “Energy benchmarking ordinances are increasing in the United States and appear to be having an impact on the office market. Nine of the cities that placed in the top 10 of the fourth annual Green Building Adoption Index have implemented the new rules and the number of green certifications have risen. The percentage of commercial office space in the top 30 U.S. markets that has been certified as ‘green’ or ‘efficient’ is now 38 percent, up from less than five percent in 2005, according to the study done by CBRE and Maastricht University in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  9. Community Drives Development “Connecting with other people has become a big part of choosing the right housing for many residents. They're looking for a place that makes them feel they fit in, where they can picture their friends living as well. Often, this intangible residential feature has nothing to with amenities. Rather, it’s about the people in the community and the activities that drive their engagement with the property.” (Multifamily Executive)
  10. How Much Longer Can Carson’s Hang On? “There's been much hand-wringing over the troubled futures of Macy's, Sears and J.C. Penney, which together are planning to close more than 450 stores in coming months as sales sink. The outlook is just as dire for another department store chain—Carson's, the 160-year-old retailer that has long played second fiddle to Macy's in metro Chicago. Carson's, which actually outnumbers Macy's in the market with 22 locations to Macy's 17, is feeling the weight of its money-losing parent, Bon-Ton Stores, which runs 261 stores in 25 states from twin headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pa.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
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