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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (June 29, 2017)

Walgreens has scrapped its deal with Rite Aid, while Staples has agreed to be bought by Sycamore Partners, Fortune reports. Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn promises tax reform will come in September, according to CNBC. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Walgreens Scraps Rite Aid Deal and Will Instead Buy 2,200 Stores for $5 Billion “Walgreens Boots Alliance won't be buying smaller rival Rite Aid after all. With the deadline looming to win a regulatory approval that seemed unlikely for the $9.4 billion deal, first announced almost two years ago, Walgreens said on Thursday it was scrapping the planned acquisition of Rite Aid as a whole and would instead simply buy 2,186 Rite Aid stores, or about 45% of its fleet, three distribution centers, and related Rite Aid inventory for $5.175 billion.” (Fortune)
  2. GDP Beats Estimates as Consumers Spend More “The US economy grew faster than initially thought in the first quarter, according to the Commerce Department. Gross domestic product, the value of everything produced in America, increased by 1.4%, a third estimate released Thursday showed. Consumer spending, the largest part of the economy, and exports were revised higher, though the broader picture of economic growth remained the same.” (Business Insider)
  3. Tax Reform is Coming in September, Trump Economic Advisor Gary Cohn Says “Tax reform is coming in September, regardless of what happens with health care, says Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council. President Donald Trump has promised tax reform since taking office in January, but some have questioned whether he can accomplish it this year, especially if Congress' attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act fail. Cohn dismissed concerns, telling MSNBC on Thursday that the White House will ‘absolutely’ get tax reform done.” (CNBC)
  4. Treasury Official: The Next Financial Crisis Could Look Nothing Like the Last One “The first of four reports from the U.S. Treasury meant to provide a comprehensive review of U.S. banking and financial services regulation, much of which was put in place in response to the financial crisis, hews closely to the Financial CHOICE Act passed by the Republican-controlled House on June 8. Craig Phillips, who joined Treasury in January from asset manager BlackRock, Inc. as a counselor to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and is leading these reviews, said most of the report’s more than 100 recommended changes to financial regulations can be implemented without Congressional approval.” (MarketWatch)
  5. Staples Is Being Bought for $6.9 Billion “Sycamore Partners said on Wednesday it would acquire U.S. office supplies chain Staples for $6.9 billion, a rare bet by a private equity firm this year in the U.S. retail sector, which has been roiled by the popularity of internet shopping. Buyout firms largely have refrained from attempting leveraged buyouts of U.S. retailers in the past two years, amid a wave of bankruptcies in the sector that have included Sports Authority, Rue21, Gymboree and BCBG Max Azria.” (Fortune)
  6. U.S. Retail Mall Vacancies Edge Up in Second Quarter: Reis “U.S. retail mall vacancies increased in the second quarter and rents were slightly higher, real estate research firm Reis said in a report. The national retail vacancy rate rose to 10 percent in the second quarter from 9.9 percent in the first quarter, partly due to new construction that was only partially absorbed by new leasing, Reis said. The mall vacancy rate inched up 0.2 percent to 8.1 percent in the quarter from the earlier quarter due to confirmed closings of Macy's stores, the research firm added.” (Reuters)
  7. China Emerges as a Player in Industrial Real Estate and That is Good News for the Sector “According to a new report on industrial capital markets by Avison Young, foreign investors bought $4.3B in U.S. industrial real estate assets between Q1 2016 and the first three months of 2017. Foreign entities bought 79 industrial properties across the country in Q1 2017, totaling $1.3B in trade volume. But the most surprising information from the report is the amount of capital being deployed by Chinese investors, which bought $284.9M in industrial real estate in Q1 2017, compared to $5.2M for the same time frame last year, a 540% increase year-to-year.” (Forbes)
  8. Paul Massey Drops Out of NYC Mayoral Race “Paul Massey abruptly ended his campaign for mayor Wednesday. The Cushman & Wakefield executive, who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility as a Republican, said the cost of sustaining a campaign against Mayor Bill de Blasio was prohibitive.
  9. ‘Unfortunately, the cost of running for office is extraordinary, and I do not see a path to raising the necessary funds to beat an incumbent mayor,’ Massey said in a statement Wednesday. ‘I am forever indebted to my family, team and my friends for their support.’ Massey’s decision to drop out was seen by some industry insiders as a surprise.” (The Real Deal)
  10. With Retail Writhing, What’s the Secret of a Successful Mall? “Acadia Realty Trust and Washington Square Partners would prefer not to call their new Brooklyn development City Point a ‘mall.’ But, respectfully, it has all the trappings: There’s the large department store anchor—Century 21—which opened last fall. There are the nationally recognized retailers like Target and Trader Joe’s, both opened this year. But two things set City Point aside from the shopping arcades of middle America that seem to be reeling right now.” (Commercial Observer)
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