10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (June 21, 2017)

Another top Chinese real estate executive steps down from his role, reports The New York Times. The Wall Street Journal examines how T.J. Maxx has managed to outperform in the current retail environment. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Vanke Founder Wang Shi, Chinese Property Developer, Steps Down “The chairman and founder of China’s largest property developer said on Wednesday that he would step down, ending a career that mirrored the country’s giddy embrace of privately owned real estate but stumbled after his company became the target of an unprecedented Chinese corporate takeover battle. Wang Shi, the chairman of China Vanke Group, said in a post on a personal social media account that it was time to let the next generation take over.” (The New York Times)
  2. How T.J. Maxx Is Bucking the Crisis in Retailing “Traditional retailers are in crisis, damaged by rapidly shifting consumer tastes, technological change and cut-throat price competition. And then there’s TJX Cos., which is defying gravity with the simple idea that under the right circumstances people still like to shop in stores. The owner of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls has seen sales at stores open at least a year rise for 33 straight quarters.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  3. Commercial Real Estate Owners Are Missing Their Big Opportunity “What is the biggest, most obvious opportunity for the future of commercial real estate? What? Not enough patience or time? Do you just want to scroll until you see the bold type and figure it out in two sentences? I could lay it out in fifty words or less but would you understand it completely? Here is my problem, I have been screaming about this as loud as I can for how long now? It’s to the point where I’m starting to question your ability to see what’s right in front of your face. It’s also obvious to me that the rest of the world has already figured out what you have not.” (
  4. Deep in the Malls of Texas, a Vision of Shopping’s Future “Several shopping centers in Texas give a peek into how mall owners and developers are responding. In spots where the shopping activity has slowed, the response is clear: Move away from strictly shopping, and expand the mix to include more restaurants and entertainment, or health care and education. Or, in the case of Valley View Center, start over from scratch.” (The New York Times)
  5. Despite a $17B Valuation and Expanding Business, How Long Can WeWork Work? “Its success—and potential for more—has divided real estate professionals in New York: Those who are willing to accept WeWork’s vision of its place in the real estate firmament and those who are not willing. Sam Zell, the chairman of Equity Group Investments, which includes major office properties, put it like this during a May appearance on CNBC: ‘We have yet to find out what happens to WeWork when the office market softens, which is probably not too long from now.’” (Commercial Observer)
  6. New York REIT Taps RKF to Sell Retail Holdings “New York REIT hired RKF’s investment sales division to oversee the selloff of its standalone retail properties as the troubled real estate investment trust liquidates its $2.78 billion office-and-retail portfolio. RKF vice chairman Jeff Fishman will lead a team marketing the assets, the bulk of which are concentrated on Bleecker Street. The buildings are located in such neighborhoods as Midtown West, Tribeca and Greenwich Village.” (The Real Deal)
  7. LA Job Growth Spurs Office Leasing Activity “While one may think sound stages and theaters would be most in demand in Los Angeles, office space is thriving in the area due to a growing presence in the tech, engineering and financial sectors. The U.S. capital of the entertainment industry is also one of the largest markets in the country, with almost 254 million square feet of office inventory, according to Yardi Matrix’s second quarter report on the Los Angeles office market.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  8. Kroger Should Challenge Amazon and Make Whole Foods a Sweeter Offer “Watch out, Amazon. Kroger could give Jeff Bezos a run for his money. At least that's what one analyst is saying, issuing a note to clients Wednesday morning explaining why a competing bid by Kroger for its rival grocer Whole Foods makes sense. This, after Amazon announced plans last Friday to acquire Whole Foods for $13.7 billion — a deal that's expected to close in the second half of 2017. Unless, of course, a rival bidder steps into the picture.” (CNBC)
  9. Plan Would Bump Playground for $1B Real Estate Project “In a move critics say circumvents zoning laws to assist powerful developers, state and city officials plan to relocate an East Harlem children’s playground to accommodate a $1 billion project that would include one of the tallest buildings outside midtown. At the request of the City Council and the de Blasio administration, state Sen. Jose Serrano (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx) are pushing bills that could be approved as early as Wednesday to discontinue the use of the Marx Brothers Playground on Second Avenue and East 96th as parkland.” (New York Post)
  10. Atlanta’s ACS Building Commands $166M “Carter Validus has acquired the American Cancer Society Building, a 995,728-square-foot property in downtown Atlanta, Ga., from Cousins Properties for $166 million. Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller in the transaction. Cushman & Wakefield’s equity, debt & structure financing group, led by Mike Ryan and Brian Linnihan, arranged the acquisition financing.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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