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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (April 10, 2020)

The Federal Reserve's massive announcement of new moves yesterday included adding private-label triple A-rated CMBS and CLOs into the revived TALF program. A California developer has claimed the coronavirus lockdown is an act of God in an acquisition dispute, reports Reuters. Small businesses are having trouble accessing government cash, according to The New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Powell Says the Economic Recovery Can Be ‘Robust’ After the Coronavirus Is Contained “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday that the economic rebound following the coronavirus-induced shutdown “can be robust” despite the sharp downturn. In the meantime, he said the central bank is committed to doing whatever it can to support the flow of cash to businesses and households both through a plethora of financing programs and by keeping interest rates anchored near zero.” (CNBC)
  2. Fed Extends TALF Support to CMBS, CLOs "The Federal Reserve on Thursday announced that the Term Asset Backed Lending Facility (TALF) will be expanded to include triple-A rated CMBS and CLO paper as eligible collateral, part of another sweeping set of relief measures to support the economy as damage from the virus pandemic mounts." (GlobalCapital.com)
  3. California Developer Says Virus an Act of God, Sues Exxon Over a Stalled Deal “A California retail developer claims the state’s coronavirus lockdown was an act of God that prevented it from completing a $4.2 million property acquisition, asking a court to prevent owner Exxon Mobil Corp from selling to any other buyers. Pacific Collective LLC invoked force majeure in its bid to delay an Exxon property acquisition, according to a suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The legal clause refers to unexpected events that prevent one party to a contract from meeting its obligations.” (Reuters)
  4. Small Businesses Wait for Cash as Disaster Loan Program Unravels “Flooded by requests for help like never before, a federal disaster loan program that was supposed to deliver emergency relief to small businesses in just three days has run low on funding and nearly frozen up entirely. Now, business owners who applied are desperate for cash and answers about what aid, if any, they are going to receive.” (The New York Times)
  5. CBRE CEO, Execs Take Salary Reductions to Offset Financial Crisis “CBRE is the largest commercial real estate brokerage in Atlanta, producing $23.5 billion in gross dollar volume from sales and leasing transactions.” (Atlanta Business Chronicle, subscription required)
  6. Steps for CRE Tenants, Landlords, Owners During Pandemic “Millions of owners or renters of commercial real estate confront unforseen hurdles during the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time of suddenly-shuttered restaurants and stores, as well as sky-high jobless rates, tenants and owners must navigate unchartered waters. Tenants may not be able to pay rent, while owners face issues regarding mortgage payments and more.” (Forbes)
  7. Dick’s Sporting Goods Furloughs 40,000 Employees Amid Coronavirus Pandemic “Another business has been hit by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that keeping its doors open has proven difficult while there are no sports or any physical activity going on during the lockdown. Beginning Sunday, the retail giant will furlough almost 40,000 employees and keep only a “small number” of personnel to fulfill curbside and online orders.” (New York Post)
  8. Airbnb’s Coronavirus Crisis: Burning Cash, Angry Hosts and an Uncertain Future “Everything was supposed to come together for Airbnb in 2020. The hottest stock-market debut of the year. A valuation of more than $50 billion. Riches for hundreds of employees holding options expiring at year-end. And vindication for co-founder and Chief Executive Brian Chesky’s decision not to go public earlier. The coronavirus pandemic has made all those scenarios next to impossible.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  9. ‘Affordable’ Housing Can Cost $1 Million Per Unit in California. Coronavirus Could Make It Worse “When developer Ginger Hitzke first proposed an affordable housing complex on a parking lot in Solana Beach, she envisioned building 18 new homes for low-income families and adults at a cost of $414,000 per apartment. More than a decade later, her project has shrunk in size by nearly half and become more than twice as expensive. At $1.1 million per apartment, the Pearl is the priciest affordable housing project in the state and, likely, the country.” (Los Angeles Times)
  10. WeWork Skip Rent Payments to Cut Costs Amid Pandemic “WeWork has stopped paying rent at some U.S. locations, in the latest sign that the co-working company is aggressively trying to cut costs as the economic downturn eats into its revenue. People briefed on the matter say WeWork has yet to mail in its April rent check at numerous properties while it tries to renegotiate leases. The company recently hired brokerage firms JLL and Newmark Knight Frank to negotiate rent relief or convert lease deals into profit-sharing agreements in a bid to drive down its fixed monthly expenses.” (MarketWatch)
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