10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (October 13, 2014)

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (October 13, 2014)


  1. Amazon to Open First Brick-and-Mortar Site “Amazon.com Inc. plans to open a store in the middle of New York City, according to people familiar with the plans, the first brick-and-mortar outlet in its 20-year history and an experiment to provide the type of face-to-face experience found at traditional retailers. The site, set to open in time for the holiday-shopping season on the same busy street as Macy’s Inc. flagship store, would mark an attempt by Amazon to connect with customers in the physical world. Amazon has built its business on competitive pricing and fast shipping. Until now, though, it couldn’t compete with the immediacy of a traditional store.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. Darden's Board Sent Away From the Table “Darden Restaurants announced Friday that all 12 of activist shareholder Starboard's proposed directors have been elected to its board. We have said that Starboard's nominees could add perspective for operational improvement and potential real estate transactions, and we believe the new board will waste little time putting its plans in place. While there are risks associated with having a board controlled by a minority shareholder (Starboard owns 8.8% of Darden's shares), the election results indicate majority support for Starboard's plans.” (Morningstar)
  3. GameStop seeks to create retail 'experience' for gamers “Leading video game specialty retailer GameStop has been preparing for the digital revolution that first rocked the music business and Hollywood—and is now taking a bigger piece of the video game revenue pie. According to Wedbush Securities video game analyst Michael Pachter, GameStop digital sales—which includes online game sales, Kongregate online sales, gift cards for downloadable content (DLC) and sales of the digital edition of Game Informer—were $218 million in 2013 (which ended January 2014) and are expected to be $260 million this year.” (Fortune)
  4. Houston Issues as Many Single-Family Housing Permits as All of California “One of Houston’s biggest supporters, the economics writer Joel Kotkin, acknowledges that the city has a ‘cruddy reputation.’ It’s the only major U.S. city without a formal zoning code, which means you can find strip clubs next to churches and oil derricks in residential neighborhoods. But say this for Houston: It’s booming. In August, the most recent month for which figures are available from the U.S. Census Bureau, metro Houston (including Sugar Land and the Woodlands) issued more permits for construction of single-family homes than did the entire state of California, which has six times the population. And that was no fluke. Houston and California have been running neck and neck in permit issuance since 2000, with California running just about 3,000 permits ahead in that time.” (Bloomberg Businessweek)
  5. Penney Names Home Depot’s Marvin Ellison As CEO “J.C. Penney Co. named Home Depot Inc. executive Marvin Ellison to take over its chief executive post next year from Myron “Mike” Ullman III, ending its long search for a new leader. Mr. Ellison, a 49-year-old retail industry veteran, will become Penney’s president Nov. 1. He will add the role of CEO next August when Mr. Ullman is slated to begin a one-year term as executive chairman of the retailer’s board.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  6. Bloomingdale's goes high-tech at new store in Palo Alto, California “Bloomingdale’s goes high-tech with the opening of its store in Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, California, on Oct. 10. In a nod to the digitally-savvy locale, the three-level, 125,000-sq.-ft. store features a wide array of high-tech innovations to make shopping easier. Among the offerings: state-of-the-art smart fitting rooms, a buy online, pick-up in-store feature and the launch of same-day-delivery where shoppers located within a 15-mile radius from the store can buy select merchandise on bloomingdales.com and have the product delivered within a five-hour window. And all sales associates are outfitted with mobile checkout devices.” (Chain Store Age)
  7. Fairway Board Pay Exceeds Apple, AT&T as Shares Drop 74% “Fairway Group Holdings Corp. (FWM), the New York City grocery chain that’s plunged 77 percent since selling shares to the public, awarded its directors $12.1 million last year, making it the fourth highest-paid board in the Russell 3000 Index. Charles Santoro, Fairway’s executive chairman and co-founder of private-equity firm Sterling Investment Partners LP, which owned most of the company until its April 2013 initial public offering, was given stock, options and cash valued at $5.4 million in 2013, according to its June 26 proxy statement. Four other directors, including two Sterling partners and two former advisers, were granted $6.7 million.” (Bloomberg)
  8. Big stake in 590 Madison Ave. hits market “In another big test of the lofty heights to which the value of commercial office towers have risen in recent years, the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio has put a stake of as much as 49% in 590 Madison Ave. on the market. The 43-story, roughly 1 million-square-foot tower in the heart of midtown's pricey Plaza District was developed in the early 1980s as the global headquarters for IBM. It is now widely regarded as one of the most prestigious office properties in the city, and as such would likely command a price of $1.5 billion or more in its entirety, according to people familiar with the sale. If the building does fetch that much, the price could firmly establish that commercial office values have exceeded their previous peaks set during the last real estate boom in 2007.” (Crain’s New York Business)
  9. Top 10 biggest real estate projects coming to NYC “September saw two applications filed for projects in excess of 1 million square feet, according to last month’s permit applications filed with the city’s Department of Buildings. Of the top 10 biggest projects, half were filed in Manhattan and half in Brooklyn. No other borough made the top this month, which ranges from 1.6 million square feet for a commercial property at Hudson Yards to the No. 10-ranked 330,000-square-foot residential building at Atlantic Yards, according to data from PropertyShark.” (The Real Deal)
  10. Target launches e-commerce with Curbside “A new e-commerce application allowing for “click-and-collect” shopping has launched at a handful of Target stores in the San Francisco area. The app, known as Curbside, enables shoppers to shop a local Target store on their phones and arrange for same-day pickup at a curbside or guest services area. The technology accesses real-time local inventory from a retailer and uses location-based technologies to alert stores when a customer is arriving for a pickup. There is no fee for the application, or to shop, Curbside said.” (Supermarket News)
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