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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (September 13, 2017)

Self-storage landlords are benefiting from the hurricane season, according to the Wall Street Journal. Median household incomes in the U.S. rose again in 2017, reports USA Today. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Median Household Income Hits $59.039, Rising for 2nd Straight Year “Americans notched solid financial gains in 2016 for a second straight year as household incomes rose, poverty fell and fewer people went without health insurance, signaling an end to the stagnation that lingered since the Great Recession. The median U.S. household income increased 3.2% to $59,039, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. That followed a 5.2% increase in 2015, the largest on records dating to 1968.” (USA Today)
  2. One Beneficiary from Hurricane Harvey: Self-Storage Landlords “Demand for self-storage space has surged in Houston with thousands of people displaced from their homes after Hurricane Harvey. Storage operators, which typically rent units ranging from 5 feet by 5 feet to as large as 10 feet by 25 feet, often report stronger demand following a natural disaster as residents look for a place to keep their belongings while they focus on rebuilding their property.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  3. Nordstrom Shares Rise as Family Nears Deal with Leonard Green for Bid to Take Retailer Private “Nordstrom shares opened up nearly 6 percent Wednesday after CNBC reported a Nordstrom family group was closing in on a deal with a private equity firm to help take the department store private. Nordstrom family members were close to choosing Leonard Green & Partners to help fund a buyout of the eponymous department store, people familiar with the matter said Tuesday.” (CNBC)
  4. The Food Court Matures into the Food Hall “Determined to provide experiences that will attract consumers and persuade them to open their wallets, developers are opening more food halls, the food court’s up-and-coming sibling, which are in the midst of a robust expansion. Unlike food courts made up of fast food chains, food halls typically mix local artisan restaurants, butcher shops and other food-oriented boutiques under one roof. Many celebrate quirkiness versus uniformity, and their ability to draw crowds is particularly appealing to landlords battling the growth of ecommerce and changing shopping habits.” (The New York Times)
  5. Walmart Is Restructuring its U.S. Operations to Speed ‘Pace of Change’ “Wal-Mart Stores Inc is restructuring its U.S. store operations and will consolidate its business divisions from six to four, the company said on Tuesday. Wal-Mart's divisions are currently structured across the West, South East, South Central, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, a source familiar with the matter, who did not wish to be identified said. The new divisions will take on a "different look", the source said without giving details.” (Reuters)
  6. CoStar Agrees to Buy Rent.com for $385 Million “CoStar Group Inc., one of the world’s largest internet real-estate data companies, is purchasing ForRent.com in a $385 million deal that shows the rental apartment listing business is becoming the latest battleground in online property services. Washington, D.C.-based CoStar is buying ForRent.com as part of its plan to list ‘every single apartment in the U.S. being marketed.’” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  7. Toys ‘R’ Us: No Game Changer for Vornado Realty “According to Debtwire, Toys “R” Us has hired restructuring lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis to help restructure $400 million in debt the company will have to repay in 2018. Among the possible contingency options, the retailer is allegedly considering bankruptcy. The suggestion of bankruptcy has prompted ratings agency S&P Global to downgrade the company’s credit rating by one notch to ‘CCC+’ from ‘B-‘ and warn of another possible downgrade.” (Forbes)
  8. The Best and Worst Cities for Jobs This Fall “Summer can be a slow time for hiring, but as the leaves begin to fall, many Americans start getting more serious about their job searches. What are the regions with the rosiest hiring outlook? Recruiting and consulting firm ManpowerGroup released its quarterly employment study focusing on the fourth quarter of 2017. It asked more than 11,500 employers whether they plan to increase, decrease, or maintain staff levels over the next three months. Manpower has been running this survey for more than five decades.” (Forbes)
  9. Multifamily Industry in U.S. Sees Continued Market Growth in 2017 “According to a new survey commissioned by Freddie Mac, a significant majority of the U.S. multifamily industry believes the rental housing market will continue to grow, fueled by increasing demand and a growing population. At the same time, however, a plurality of participants is less optimistic about the outlook for affordable housing as compared to just one year ago. Commissioned by Freddie Mac in partnership with the real estate media and intelligence firm Hanley Wood, the survey gauged the attitudes of industry participants in sectors such as property development; building and construction; property management; lending, financing and investing; and government and trade associations.’ (World Property Journal)
  10. NYC’s Great Retail Façade “In New York City’s retail world — which serves residents’ around-the-clock needs from late-night pad thai to Gucci loafers — there are two types of ‘facades’: the tens of thousands of actual storefronts and the well-concealed side deals between landlords and retail tenants. One of those deals took place in early 2013, when the Carlyle Group was looking to sell its 27-story office building at 650 Madison Avenue, which sits between East 59th and 60th streets.” (The Real Deal)  
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