10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (April 19, 2019)

Sears sues Eddie Lampert for stripping it of its assets, reports the Wall Street Journal. New York’s population is decreasing, according to The New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Sears Sues Ex-CEO Eddie Lampert, Claiming He Stripped Assets and Left It Broke “Sears Holding Corp. sued Eddie Lampert, his hedge fund ESL Investment Inc. and various directors of ESL and Sears in a lawsuit accusing them of siphoning away billions of dollars’ worth of assets as the company racked up huge losses. The lawsuit, filed by the team winding down the shell of Sears left behind in bankruptcy court following Mr. Lampert’s purchase of the retailer’s assets, alleges the hedge-fund manager and the company’s board directed Sears’s executives to produce rosy financial projections predicting a big turnaround while the company accumulated over $7 billion in losses from 2011 to 2014.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Is New York City’s “Remarkable Growth Story” Ending? “There are 8.4 million people in the Naked City. This is the story of 40,000 of them — the number of people the Census Bureau estimates that New York City lost last year. The loss suggests that New York’s robust post-recession expansion since 2010 has finally slowed, halting what the city’s leading demographer had called a ‘remarkable growth story.’ But city officials disputed the Census Bureau’s findings, calling them “tenuous” at best.” (The New York Times)
  3. Pier 1 Liquidation Is a Possibility, Analysts Say “Pier 1 Imports Inc.’s Interim Chief Executive Cheryl Bachelder may have taken an optimistic tone after the home décor retailer reported disappointing fourth-quarter earnings, but analysts were bearish, bringing up the possibility of a liquidation in the not-so-distant future. ‘Given the trends in business, and its negative earnings per share, EBITDA [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization], and free cash flow, we see Pier 1 and its $1.6 billion in revenues as potentially at risk of needing liquidation if trends don’t improve,’ wrote KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts led by Bradley Thomas.” (MarketWatch)
  4. Vornado Sells Part of Prime New York Retail Portfolio “Vornado Realty Trust is cashing out of some of its retail holdings in Manhattan. Institutional investors advised by Crown Acquisitions Inc. have agreed to buy a 47.2% stake in the properties, which are located in the Fifth Avenue shopping district and on Broadway in Times Square, Vornado said Thursday.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  5. Tenants May Get More Protections in New York City, After Decades of Battles. Here’s Why “The moment seems to have finally arrived for housing activists seeking more robust rent laws in New York City.For years, Republicans controlled the State Senate, and stymied Democratic efforts to strengthen laws affecting about one million rent-regulated apartments in the city.But with a newfound monopoly over the state legislature and governor’s mansion, Democrats have wasted little time introducing a cadre of bills aimed at protecting tenants.” (The New York Times)
  6. This Is the No. 1 State for Retirees—and It’s Not Florida “It’s the land of enchantment — for retirees.Data released by United Van Lines — which tracked customers’ state-to-state migration patterns in 2018 — found that New Mexico was the No. 1 state where retirees moved. More than four in 10 (43%) moves to New Mexico were related to retirement, the moving company found, and nearly six in 10 people who moved to the state were between the ages of 55 and 74. This was the first time New Mexico landed in the No. 1 spot.” (MarketWatch)
  7. Netflix Plans a $100 Million Expansion in Manhattan, Brooklyn “Netflix will invest up to $100 million to expand its presence in the city with a new production hub in Brooklyn and corporate office in Manhattan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.The expansion of the streaming platform and media studio is expected to create 127 jobs in fields such as marketing and production development, the governor's office said. The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company also will build out a production hub in Brooklyn that will include six new sound stages within five years.” (Crain’s New York Business)
  8. Texas Instruments to Build $3.1 Billion Facility, Create Nearly 500 Jobs in Richardson “Dallas-based Texas Instruments has chosen Richardson as the site for an approximately $3.1 billion facility that's expected to create more than 488 jobs.Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the news Thursday morning on the governor's office website. The semiconductor company will receive more than $5.1 million in grant money from the Texas Enterprise Fund, the state's so-called deal closer fund, if it follows through on its capital investment and job creation commitments. It is also receiving tax incentives from Collin County, Plano ISD and the city of Richardson.” (Dallas Morning News)
  9. Wealth Manager: Buying a Home Is Usually a Terrible Investment “A lot of people will tell you that buying a home is a good investment, but ‘that couldn’t be further from the truth,’ says Peter Mallouk, a certified financial planner and president of wealth management firm Creative Planning. ‘In reality, it’s usually a terrible investment,’ he says. That’s because, at the end of the day, owning a home takes money out of your pocket.” (CNBC)
  10. Learn How to Make Smarter Real Estate Investments “An intelligently chosen, diverse portfolio can ease many of your startup woes. Having a variety of investments in stocks, bonds, hedge funds and more can grow your wealth, creating a safety cushion of finances you can turn to if your new venture hits a rough patch. Keeping your portfolio diverse also lowers your overall risk: if there’s a dip in one market, you can rely on your other investments to keep your finances afloat.” (Entrepreneur)
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