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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (March 28, 2018)

Foreign investors interested in the Plaza Hotel are considering paying for it through an ICO, reports CNBC. Facebook is facing a lawsuit for allegedly allowing housing discrimination, according to CNN. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Up Next for Crypto-Crazed Investors: A slice of NYC’s Plaza Hotel “A group of foreign investors looking to buy the iconic Plaza Hotel in New York City is considering an initial coin offering to help fund the transaction. The foreign group, under the name Chimera, is considering proposing the "Plaza Token," an asset-backed securitized token, according to a draft of a white paper on the project reviewed by CNBC and a source familiar with the matter. Talks are still early, and a deal has not yet been finalized.” (CNBC)
  2. U.S. Consumer Confidence Ebbs, House Prices Surge “U.S. consumer confidence fell from more than a 17-year high in March amid stock market volatility, but households remained upbeat about labor market conditions, which could help to support consumer spending. The Conference Board said on Tuesday its consumer confidence index dropped 2.3 points to a reading of 127.7 this month from a slightly downwardly revised 130.0 in February, which was the highest level since November 2000. The index was previously reported at 130.8 in February.” (Reuters)
  3. Toys ‘R’ Us Supporters Need to Raise $1 Billion by Memorial Day to Save a Chunk of the Brand’s Assets “They’re not done playing yet. After Toys ‘R’ Us announced this month that it plans to sell or shutter all of its 735 U.S. stores after filing for bankruptcy, supporters of #SaveToysRUs — a viral movement to rescue the beloved brand — are rallying on a GoFundMe page. The goal is to raise $1 billion to keep 400 Toys “R” Us stores up and running.” (Moneyish)
  4. Stocks of Mall Owners Sink as GGP Accepts Disappointing Bid from Rival Brookfield “Retail real estate stocks were reeling Tuesday after GGP accepted a takeover offer from rival Brookfield Property Partners, following months of wrangling. After initially rejecting a $14.8 billion cash-and-stock offer from Brookfield late last year, GGP's board agreed to a purchase price of $23.50 per share, or about $15.3 billion. GGP shares closed before the deal was announced Monday at $21.21 apiece.” (CNBC)
  5. Facebook Sued for Allegedly Allowing Housing Discrimination “A group of fair housing organizations filed a lawsuit against Facebook (FB) on Tuesday alleging that its advertising platform allows landlords and brokers to discriminate based on gender and family status. The National Fair Housing Alliance joined three other groups in the lawsuit, which claims that Facebook's advertising tools continue to enable marketers to exclude women and families with children from seeing certain housing ads.” (CNN)
  6. E-Commerce Lingerie Brand Gets Physical (with Stores), in Challenge to Victoria’s Secret “Online lingerie seller Adore Me is planning to open its first U.S. stores —200 to 300 in the next five years—aiming to grab market share from industry leader Victoria’s Secret. The New York-based startup hopes the physical stores will help it lure customers from Victoria’s Secret, which has about 1,200 stores in the U.S. and Canada.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  7. Why Office Landlords Need to Increase Creativity “Gemini Rosemont Commercial Real Estate added John Meehan as its new chief operating officer in January. A former capital markets director at Douglas Emmet, Meehan is responsible for corporate transactions, and providing financing and multidisciplinary leadership for the office investment platform. Gemini Rosemont’s COO revealed his take on the latest trends and challenges in the office sector, and what it takes to provide tenant satisfaction in 2018.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  8. The Advantages of Investing in Real Estate for Big Tax Savings in 2018 “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has changed the dynamics of our finances and the profitability of investments. While much of the press coverage around the new rules has been on its drawbacks, there exist some positive financial opportunities for those who educate themselves and act on new breaks.” (Forbes)
  9. Retail Landlords Sell Assets to Raise Cash “More real-estate assets owned by publicly listed REITs are up for sale as the gap widens between their discounted share prices and the value of private-market transactions of physical assets. Shares of real-estate investment trusts have underperformed the broader equity market for the third year running, in part because of rising interest rates, which cause these dividend-paying stocks to lose some of their appeal.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  10. Chicago Investor Seizes Loop Landmark “An eight-story landmark in the Loop could get a shot at a new life, thanks to a local investor that took possession of the building this month. Nearly three years after filing a foreclosure suit against the previous owner, a venture led by Chicago real estate attorney Steven DeGraff this month acquired the historic building at 36 W. Randolph St., Cook County records show.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
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