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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (March 1, 2018)

Kohl’s partners with Aldi to sublet excess store space, reports CNBC. White House aides are angry about overspending by HUD and Ben Carson, according to CNN. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. As Amazon Mulls HQ2, It’s Hiring Big in Boston “While Amazon’s still not saying a word yet about where it plans to locate its second headquarters, the company is quietly negotiating plans to hire big in Boston, one of the 20 finalist cities for what’s become known as Amazon HQ2. The retailer is in talks to lease an 18-story building in the Boston Seaport giving it enough space for 2,000 or more employees. Ultimately, that could expand to a 1 million square-foot lease and 4,000 jobs by 2025.” (Fortune)
  2. Kohl’s Taps Grocer Aldi as its First Partner to Sublet Space in Downsized Stores “Kohl's said Thursday it would bring discount grocer Aldi into as many as 10 stores later this year in a pilot test, as the retailer aims to scale down its real estate footprint and leverage space for others. CNBC reported in January that Kohl's would be working with grocers and convenience stores to lease space in its stores. At the time, the company didn't disclose which companies would be moving in.” (CNBC)
  3. Three Big Myths About LA’s Real Estate Bubble “As real estate investors, prospective homebuyers and brokers look back, 2017 could probably be called "The Year of Real Estate Records." Dozens of major real estate markets saw rent and home prices continue to rise, sometimes even hitting all-time highs, while building on years of steady growth since the housing collapse a decade ago. It’s truly striking, and with each day that passes, 2018 shows few signs of slowing down.” (Forbes)
  4. White House Furious About Embarrassing Stories about HUD, Secretary Ben Carson “Senior White House aides are furious about a series of negative stories about frivolous spending at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and have taken a more hands-on role in trying to stem the tide of negative news, sources with knowledge of the situation tell CNN. The decision to assert more control comes a day after reports that the former chief administrative officer at HUD filed a complaint saying she demoted after refusing to spend more than was legally allowed to redecorate Secretary Ben Carson's new office.” (CNN)
  5. Consumer Spending Slows in January, but Income Growth and Inflation Speed Up “Consumer spending in January rose a scant 0.2% as Americans cut back after the holidays. And spending fell for the first time in a year if adjusted for inflation, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.3% increase in spending. At the same time, though, incomes rose 0.4% and after-tax incomes posted the biggest gain since 2012 in the wake of the Trump tax cuts. Real disposable income surged 0.9%.” (MarketWatch)
  6. China’s Anbang Takeover Could Prompt National Security Review “Before Anbang Insurance Group bought the Waldorf Astoria Hotel for $1.95 billion in 2014, the Chinese insurer asked Washington, D.C. to review the acquisition for potential national security implications that could have muddled the deal. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (better known as CFIUS) reviewed and ultimately approved the sale. But the China Insurance Regulatory Commission’s decision last week to temporarily take control of Anbang and its assets for up to two years has the potential to prompt a new federal review, experts told The Real Deal.” (The Real Deal)
  7. Inside Industry City’s Big, Controversial Industrial Expansion Plan “Today, Bush Terminal is known as Industry City, and it’s owned by Jamestown Properties, Belvedere Capital, Angelo, Gordon & Co, Cammeby’s International and the Fruchthandler family’s FBE Limited. Warehouses that once housed bullets, bananas and coffee are now home to drone manufacturers, chocolatiers and media companies. Jamestown, Belvedere and Angelo have sunk $125 million into the 5.3-million-square-foot cluster of early 20th century manufacturing buildings since acquiring a 50 percent stake in the properties in 2013 from Cammeby’s and the Fruchthandler family in a deal valued at roughly $150 million.” (Commercial Observer)
  8. Architectural Billings Index Reaches 10-Year High in U.S. “According to the American Institute of Architects, 2018 started on a strong note for architecture firms, as the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) saw its highest January score since 2007. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the January 2018 ABI score was 54.7, up from a score of 52.8 in the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 61.1, down from a reading of 62.0 the previous month, while the new design contracts index increased slightly from 53.4 to 53.9.” (World Property Journal)
  9. Jared Kushner’s Ties to Banks Under Scrutiny “The New York State of Department of Financial Services asked several banks for information about their relationships with Jared Kushner and his finances, people familiar with the information requests said. The DFS, which regulates New York banks and some international banks that do business in the state, sent inquiries last week to firms that include Deutsche Bank AG and Signature Bank, these people said. Mr. Kushner is President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser to the president.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  10. Atlantic Station Overhaul to Include Apartments, Hotel, Offices and Retail “It’s been years since the latest owner of Atlantic Station, Hines, unveiled plans for a collection of new office buildings, and the time is now right for development to begin, Hines officials have indicated. But the two new office buildings are far from the only major projects planned at Atlantic Station in coming years. Changes could impact the function, look, and overall feel of the district, which is nearing its 15th birthday and isn’t close to being finished.” (Atlanta Curbed)
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