GGP Auctions Condos; CRE Investment at Lowest Level Since 1991; Starbucks Reduces Closures (Friday's News & Notes)

  • The latest installment in John Reeder's series of Twitter profiles was an interview with Imad Naffa, founder and president of NAFFA International, a building code services consultant.
  • General Growth is having a tough time selling condos at the Natick Collection. So it's now auctioning the units. It may sell the condos for 70 percent below the original asking prices.
  • Greg Burns at the Chicago Tribune offered a column looking at how REITs are preparing to pounce on the wave of distressed assets that we keep expecting to materialize at some point. Real Property Alpha had some thoughts on distress as well, likening the deals that are on offer today to the $2 bargain bins you used to find at music stores. (Are there any of those left?)
  • The AP's excellent retail reporter Anne D'Innocenzio had a look at how retailers are thinking small--focusing on consumer "needs" rather than consumer "wants."
  • There was some good news on the store closing front. Starbucks is opting to keep 30 stores open that it previously planned on closing.
  • As 2009 rapidly begins to draw to a close, it's looking like total investment in commercial property will be the lowest volume in 19 years.
  • Seeking Alpha looks at two headwinds facing the commercial real estate loan market. In spite of that, JP Morgan says it is planning on stepping up its lending on commercial property.
  • Stephen Ross, the chairman of Related Cos., is leading a group that's creating a new bank.
  • The National Retail Federation posted a new retail sales outlook. Notably, NRF's Chief Economist Rosalind Wells says "the recession is ending."
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