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10 Must Reads for the Commercial Real Estate Industry (April 26, 2017)

Forbes looks at the state of the industrial real estate market. The U.S. housing market may be over-heating, according to the Wall Street Journal. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Janet Yellen’s Successor at the Fed Just Might Be Gary Cohn “Speculation is building on Wall Street that a likely replacement to run the central bank would be Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council and Trump's closest economic advisor. Cohn also is a former chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs. ‘The buzz among those who claim Cohn confides in them is that he would like to eventually replace’ Yellen, assuming Trump decides to move in a different direction when the chair's term ends in early February, Beacon Research said in its daily report for clients Tuesday.” (CNBC)
  2. Rising Home Prices Raise Concerns of Overheating “The U.S. housing market’s red-hot recovery from the depths of the crash five years ago is fueling concerns among economists and real-estate brokers that home prices are overheating. A dearth of new construction and strong demand from buyers are pushing up prices twice as fast as the rate of income growth, the latest data show, a level economists said is unsustainable.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  3. 5 Things You Need to Know About Industrial Real Estate “E-commerce demand in this booming sector is pushing industrial occupancy past record levels. First-quarter net occupancy gains increased for the 28th consecutive quarter, according to C&W. This marks the longest expansion on record, with net absorption of more than 1.3B SF added since 2010. Last quarter, the sector absorbed 53.8M SF, up from Q4 2016’s 49.3M SF, though this represents a 14.4% decline in absorption year-to-year.” (Forbes)
  4. Guitar Center’s Latest Jam: Future Threatened by its Huge Debt Burden “Is the big leveraged buyout wave of 2005-2007 about to claim another victim? Bonds issued by Guitar Center, the biggest retailer of musical instruments in the world, are languishing at record lows on growing concern that the company is going to be overwhelmed by its roughly $1 billion of outstanding bond debt, part of a debt burden that totals about $1.6 billion, once loans and other borrowings are included.” (MarketWatch)
  5. Trump’s Plan to Kill Energy Star Could Benefit His Properties “Energy Star is best known for labels that tell you how much you’ll pay on your utility bill if you buy a new refrigerator or television. But it also has ratings for hotels, condominiums and office buildings. Trump’s properties tend to receive low Energy Star ratings. The most recent scores from 2015 reveal that 11 of his 15 skyscrapers in New York, Chicago and San Francisco are less energy efficient than most comparable buildings. On a scale of 1 to 100 for energy efficiency, Manhattan’s old Mayfair Hotel, which Trump converted into condos, rated a 1.” (CNN)
  6. Amazon Plans Fulfillment Center Trio for NJ “Amazon will open a 900,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Cranbury Township, where larger customer items such as furniture and sports equipment will be picked and packed. Logan Township will host the largest of the facilities, a 1 million-square-foot building also designed to accommodate larger goods. And in Edison, a 900,000-square-foot fulfillment center will sprout up to handle smaller customer items, including books, kitchenware and the like.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  7. Trump’s Real Estate Buddies LeFrak and Roth Talk Infrastructure Plan “Richard LeFrak and Steve Roth, New York real estate giants and members of President Trump’s working group on infrastructure, dished this week on how to rebuild the country’s aging roads, bridges and other facilities. Appearing at a Washington, D.C. event, the two could not nail down the specifics of the president’s proposal, even as LeFrak bragged that he had Trump’s ear. Roth, the head of Vornado Trust Realty, discussed a plan that would involve $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, financed through a combination of public and private partnerships.” (Forward)
  8. Chinese Buyers Acquiring Source Mall “More than five years after being foreclosed and taken back by its lender, the struggling, mostly vacant Mall at the Source in Westbury has finally found a buyer. A Chinese firm that manufactures and distributes home furnishings, equipment and building supplies is in contract to purchase the 521,486-square-foot mall and plans to turn it into a giant showroom, according to real estate industry sources. The acquiring company’s officials met with mall management in the mall’s empty food court Tuesday.” (
  9. New York Landlords Exploit Loophole to Hike Rents Despite Freeze “For renters in almost 30 percent of the city’s 860,000 rent-stabilized apartments, the law’s protections against steep rent hikes have vanished thanks to a late-night loophole created by state lawmakers in 2003. The loophole involves a seeming benefit to tenants known as a ‘preferential rent’ — a rent below the legal maximum allowed under rent stabilization. Landlords say such discounts are good for tenants because “they’re getting a deal. They’re getting a bargain.” (The Real Deal)
  10. 365 by Whole Foods Set to Enter Stage ‘2.0’ “On Wednesday, Whole Foods Markets will further its endeavor to bring a more economical incarnation of its brand to the market. 365 by Whole Foods will roll out its fourth location Wednesday with a 30,000-square-foot facility that will serve as the first installment in Texas. The store is in the Cedar Park neighborhood of Austin. The 365 branded stores bring Whole Foods’ patented organic, healthy approach and deliver it to customers via grab-and-go prepared options as well as standard grocery items.” (Supermarket News)
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