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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry (December 10, 2019)

Business economists don’t anticipate a recession next year, reports the Associated Press. Only five cities account for most of the growth in technology jobs in the U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Business Economists See U.S. Slowing, But Avoiding Recession “The nation’s business economists expect U.S. economic growth to decelerate this year and next but for the economy to avoid stumbling into recession, extending a record-breaking expansion already in its 11th year. The latest survey by 53 forecasters with the National Association for Business Economics shows that they expect economic growth to slow from 2.9% last year to 2.3% in 2019 and 1.8% in 2020.” (Associated Press)
  2. Big Brands, Online Startups Find Success Rests on Store Shelves “American shoppers will buy almost anything online. But when it comes to household mainstays, from razors to tampons, the old-fashioned store still beckons. That reality is hitting some of the world’s biggest consumer-products companies, which collectively have invested billions of dollars in startups in recent years that sold directly to consumers. Meanwhile, upstart brands are finding they must move into stores to compete outside of niche territory—for at least two reasons, executives and analysts say.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  3. On Las Vegas Strip, Splashy Stores Elbow in Alongside Casinos “Five years ago, Eli Gindi, a New York businessman, learned that part of the Showcase Mall on the Las Vegas Strip was up for sale. His interest piqued, he informally toured the property a few weeks later while in town for business. Until then, Las Vegas had not been on Mr. Gindi’s investment radar. That changed during his trip. A mass of humanity crowded into stores for Coca-Cola, M&M’s and Adidas, as well as souvenir shops, T-shirt vendors, tour booths, tattoo parlors and peddlers of giant margaritas.” (The New York Times)
  4. Five Cities Account for Vast Majority of Growth in Tech Jobs, Study Finds “The forces that are driving the nation’s top technology talent to just a handful of cities have intensified in recent years, leaving much of the nation behind as the U.S. becomes a more digital economy, according to a new study. Just five metropolitan areas—Boston; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; and San Jose, Calif.—accounted for 90% of all U.S. high-tech job growth between 2005 to 2017, according to the research by think-tank scholars Mark Muro and Jacob Whiton of the Brookings Institution and Rob Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  5. ViacomCBS Weighs Putting Black Rock Skyscraper Up for Sale “Black Rock, the modernist skyscraper designed by Eero Saarinen that has been CBS headquarters for more than half a century and symbolized the network’s invincibility, is being considered for a sale. The 36-story tower, clad in light-erasing black granite at 51 West 52nd Street in Manhattan, could be sold as part of a larger review of the company’s real estate holdings, Robert M. Bakish, the chief executive of ViacomCBS, announced Monday at an investor conference.” (The New York Times)
  6. Boot Barn Eyes Northeast with Plans to Double Store Count “Boot Barn sees plenty of room to grow its store count. The California-based retailer of western and work-related footwear, apparel and accessories for men, women and children currently operates nearly 250 stores across the nation — with the exception of the Northeast. But that is about to change.” (Chain Store Age)
  7. ‘Punched in the Stomach’ San Pablo Senior Assisted Living Facility to Close “Toni Gardner thought she had found her forever home. After suffering a stroke nearly three years ago, the 95-year-old needed a wheelchair and more help than her children could provide. So she moved into Brookdale San Pablo, a senior assisted living center not far from where her daughter lives. Two days before Thanksgiving, Gardner learned that the center was being sold and a 60-day eviction notice was imminent.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  8. An Indie Bookstore Opens in the Glittering 900 North Michigan Mall. So Are Bookstores Back? “'Twas a cold December day when, trudging through the vast expanse of the 900 North Michigan Shops, passing Gucci and hand-woven silk fabrics I could never afford, I noticed the strangest of welcome sights. It was a modest reminder that sometimes things get better. It was the time of year to believe so. Because there, on the fifth floor, after four escalator rides, two stories above where Santa now sits, tucked into the back of the mall, beyond the artisan food hall, and alongside an eyeglass frame boutique, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but, gasp — is that a bookstore?” (Chicago Tribune)
  9. The Cool and Unconventional Secret to Affordable Housing Near San Francisco “The cost of housing in the San Francisco Bay Area is astronomically high compared with other U.S. cities, even other major metropolitan areas. In a recent comparison of 75 cities, San Francisco was the most expensive city in the country, with its neighbors San Jose and Oakland in the top five along with New York City and Boston. Living costs in San Francisco are 25% higher than the national average and last year, when the government announced that a Bay Area family earning a household income of $117,000 could be considered low income, there was a national uproar.” (MarketWatch)
  10. Bay Area TOD Receives $336M Loan “JLL has raised a total of $335.6 million capital for the development of Gateway at Millbrae Station, a mixed-use project in Millbrae, Calif. JLL worked on behalf of the developer, Republic Urban Properties, to arrange joint venture equity from Principal Real Estate Investors and a floating-rate construction loan through U.S. Bank.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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