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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (April 4, 2017)

Dollar General will purchase 323 stores left over from the Dollar Tree/Family Dollar merger, reports Supermarket News. Chicago Tribune takes a close look at Amazon’s new bookstore. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.


  1. At Kushner’s Flagship Building, Mounting Debt and a Foundered Deal “The Fifth Avenue skyscraper was supposed to be the Kushner Companies’ flagship in the heart of Manhattan — a record-setting $1.8 billion souvenir proclaiming that the New Jersey developers Charles Kushner and his son Jared were playing in the big leagues. And while it has been a visible symbol of their status, it has also been a financial headache almost from the start.” (The New York Times)
  2. Dollar General to Acquire 323 Stores “A batch of 323 small discount stores spun off in 2015’s Dollar Tree-Family Dollar merger are being sold to rival Dollar General, the seller told SN Monday. The stores, which are currently operating under the Family Dollar banner, were acquired less than two years ago by New York private equity firm Sycamore Partners, which had planned to convert the stores to the Dollar Express banner. Instead, the stores will be converted to the Dollar General banner in coming months.” (Supermarket News)
  3. In Boston’s Surging Real Estate Market, New Condos Race to the Top “As Boston’s profile as an international city rises, so to are some of the tallest, most amenity-filled  condominiums the city has ever seen. Glossy new residential towers are rising across the city, invading some corners of town long-neglected by upscale property developers. The flood of new buildings come as prices in Boston continue to soar. The median price of a condo reached $913,500 in the third quarter of 2016, a 43 percent rise from the same period last year, according to data from real estate marketing firm LINK.” (Forbes)
  4. U.S. Households Will Soon Have as Much Debt as They Had in 2008 “It feels like 2008 again. At least, if you look at Americans’ wallets. The New York Federal Reserve announced Monday that in 2017 total household debt will reach its previous peak of $12.68 trillion, which it reached in the third quarter of 2008. It’s already close: Total household debt in the fourth quarter of 2016 was nearly as high, at $12.58 trillion. While the debt level is similar to 2008, the things Americans are in debt for have changed, as household incomes have increased in recent years, and housing and stock prices have improved.” (MarketWatch)
  5. Seattle Mayor Drops Property-Tax Plan, Seeks Sales Tax to Fight Homelessness “Barely a month after announcing it, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer are scrapping their plan for a $275 million homelessness property-tax levy. Rather than ask city voters to approve the levy in August, Murray now intends to work with King County Executive Dow Constantine on a 2018 ballot measure that would use a 0.1 percent regional sales-tax increase to combat homelessness, the mayor said Monday.” (The Seattle Times)
  6. Amazon Takes a Page from Bricks-and-Mortar Bookstores. Here’s What It’s Like Inside “Amazon Books on Southport Avenue, the fifth physical store from the Seattle online giant, and its first in the Midwest, is a deeply, unsettlingly normal place, a soulless, antiseptic 6,000 square feet, a stone's throw from a J. Crew and a SoulCycle. It has the personality of an airport bookstore and conveys all the charm of its stone floor. Shopping there is as frictionless as a one-click purchase. There are no quirks, no attempts at warmth.” (Chicago Tribune)
  7. A Real Estate Developer for the Next Generation “By the time it was completed last year, and its wealthy owners began occupying their sprawling new homes, The Pacific, a luxury condominium in San Francisco, had already begun getting buzz in real estate circles. much of the buzz surrounding the project had to do with its developer, Trumark Urban, and the man behind one of the most active real estate firms in the country, Arden Hearing.” (Forbes)
  8. Children’s Investment Fund Provides $290M Construction Loan for UES Development “Last Friday night, a joint venture of Ceruzzi Properties and Kuafu Properties secured a $290 million construction loan from The Children’s Investment Fund for a project on the Upper East Side, Commercial Observer has learned. HFF‘s Dave Nackoul, Christopher Peck and Scott Findlay represented the developers in the deal, a company spokeswoman said. Peck would only say it was a floating-rate loan.” (Commercial Observer)
  9. MBA Says Commercial U.S. Markets Feeling Early Stages of Tug of War “According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest fourth quarter 2016 Commercial-Multifamily DataBook report released this week: The U.S. economy appears to have shifted gears post-election, with expectations of policy shifts and renewed "animal spirits" pushing both the stock market and interest rates higher. ‘Interest rates jumped markedly during the fourth quarter, in an immediate response to the November election,’ said MBA Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research Jamie Woodwell.” (World Property Journal)
  10. Hines Buys Houston Logistics Park for $155M “Talk about a growth spurt, Hines recently tripled its footprint in the metropolitan Houston industrial market with the acquisition of the 2.2 million-square-foot Underwood Distribution Center in La Porte, Texas. The international real estate firm purchased the five-building park, which also features three development parcels, from BlackRock in a $155 million transaction. Underwood is quite a catch. For starters, the portfolio is 100 percent leased. Additionally, it’s relatively new, with the buildings having been developed between 2005 and 2008.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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