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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (June 16, 2017)

U.S. housing starts in May came in below expectations, reports The Associated Press. Dollar Tree’s plan for Canadian expansion is risky, according to Reuters. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. U.S. Housing Starts Total 1.092M in May vs. 1.215M Starts Expected “The Commerce Department says housing starts fell 5.5 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million units. This comes after a 2.7 percent monthly decline in April and a 7.7 percent drop in March. Home construction is still 3.2 percent higher year-to-date, but that increase has been too modest to address the dwindling supply of homes.” (The Associated Press)
  2. Amazon Buys Whole Foods: Will Brick and Mortar Retail Ever be the Same Again? “It instantly makes Whole Foods a player in the growing online food retail business. One of the repercussions of this deal will be in understanding the impact on Instacart, which counts Whole Foods as its largest customer. It provides Whole Foods with greater leverage and buying power, which should allow it to reduce core prices and become more competitive, which was one of its stated objectives in its turnaround efforts.” (Forbes)
  3. How Real Estate Investors See Seattle Tech “So here comes Tech Cities 1.0, a new report from Cushman & Wakefield, the giant commercial real-estate services outfit. It attempts a deep dive into what makes a real technopolis (my term), as these metros have outperformed others during the recovery. This is also influential, because real-estate investors and site selectors pay attention to analyses such as this. Seattle has an overall grade of No. 6 nationally, among the top 25.” (Seattle Times)
  4. Dollar Tree’s Plan to Expand in Canada Seen as Risky “Dollar Tree Inc's plan to more than quadruple its store count in Canada, as it fights rising competition and slowing sales growth back home, is fraught with risks and will pit it against a formidable rival - market leader Dollarama. Chesapeake, Virginia-based Dollar Tree, which operates 226 stores in Canada, said in March it planned to open 1,000 stores in Canada over time.” (Reuters)
  5. China’s Real Estate Investors on a $200B Global Spending Spree “In 2007 China's commercial property outflow was less than $1 billion. Now it exceeds $20 billion annually. Individuals and corporations in China still have an estimated $200 billion to invest abroad. Prominent commercial markets include Hong Kong, Australia, the U.K. and North America, particularly Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver.” (CNBC)
  6. City Could Be on the Hook for $96M in Unexpected Costs at Hudson Yards “The city may be on the hook for nearly $100 million in unexpected additional costs related to redeveloping Hudson Yards, according to a new report. The Independent Budget Office found that an additional $96 million is needed to fund the extension of the No. 7 subway line and the planned four acres of park and open space known as Hudson Park & Boulevard. The construction of the latter is expected to cost an additional $64 million, while the subway extension would require another $32 million, according to the report.” (The Real Deal)
  7. Six Best Practices for New Real Estate Entrepreneurs “A lot of people ask me what it's like, bootstrapping a real estate investment fund. After all my day ones, I believe Ben Horowitz said it best: ‘As a startup CEO, I slept like a baby. I woke up every two hours and cried.’ Building a fund is hard, and the emotional roller coaster of bootstrapping has its highs and lows. We are fighting against the social norm and will face push-back from the first step.” (Forbes)
  8. Sweeping Closures of Dying Sears Stores Could Force J.C. Penney to Make One Difficult Decision “As a Sears store closes, it tends to reduce foot traffic in -- and around -- the mall. That means fewer shoppers visiting the J.C. Penney that's still open in the mall or down the road. According to Buss' analysis, when an anchor store in a highly distressed mall closes, about 30% of these malls go onto close. Boss identifies 103 at risk malls where Sears could close, with 53 J.C. Penney stores within a mile of these malls that may be forced to shutter its doors due to another plunge in foot traffic.” (The Street)
  9. Record Demand for Industrial Real Estate on Long Island “Rental prices and demand for industrial real estate on Long Island are the highest they have ever been, real estate brokers, analysts and developers say. Amid improving economic conditions, growth in e-commerce and demand for space from New York City businesses moving east, rental prices for Long Island warehouses and factory buildings have reached records, and sales prices are high as well.” (Newsday, subscription required)
  10. EastGroup Plans 850 KSF Industrial Park in Florida “EastGroup Properties Inc. just announced its response to the persistent cry for industrial accommodations in metropolitan Miami. The REIT will develop Gateway Commerce Park, an 850,000-square-foot distribution campus in a highly coveted area in Miami-Dade County. Gateway will be erected on what was once the practice track for Calder Race Course in Miami Gardens. EastGroup completed the $26.5 million acquisition of the land, situated at the N.W. 27th exit of the Florida Turnpike, from Churchill Downs Inc. in November 2016.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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