watchtower Sergio Herrera

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (August 17, 2017)

Federal Reserve members indicated they may pull back on interest rate increases if low inflation persists, reports MarketWatch. Forbes looks at the fight for dominance among real estate technology firms. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Some Fed Members Say Bank Can Be ‘Patient’ on Interest Rates Due to Low Inflation “The Federal Reserve engaged in an intense debate in July about the path of U.S. inflation after a spate of surprisingly low readings, raising questions about whether the central bank will raise interest rates again this year. The Fed’s policy-setting group appeared more unified on a plan to announce in September a long-awaited drawdown of the bank’s huge $4.5 trillion asset portfolio, according to minutes of the July meeting released Wednesday.” (MarketWatch)
  2. Real Estate Tech Investors Are Scrambling for a Piece of the Industry’s Multimillion-Dollar Pie “Last year, both commercial and residential real estate tech companies raised record funds, with investors pouring $2.6B into tech startups through 235 deals worldwide, according to CBInsights research. Major deals such as Homelinks’ $926M Series B fundraiser and OpenDoor Labs' $210M Series D fundraiser pushed the envelope, boosting VC’s real estate tech investment by 40% in 2016 from the previous year.” (Forbes)
  3. D.C. Has Essentially Lost Track of the Real Estate It Owns, New Report Finds “The agency that manages the District government’s property has failed to collect millions of dollars in rent and struck a financially questionable deal with a private real-estate broker to lease space that may not be needed, according to a new inspector general’s audit. The audit, released Thursday by D.C. Inspector General Daniel W. Lucas, found that the city’s Department of General Services has essentially lost track of government-owned real estate in the nation’s capital and is spending nearly $180 million per year leasing additional buildings.” (Washington Post)
  4. Wisconsin Property Value Increases Largest Since 2007 “Wisconsin property values have reached a new high. The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance analyzed taxable property value data that was finalized Tuesday by the state Department of Revenue. The $526 billion in property value is a new peak and the 4.1 percent increase over 2016 is the biggest jump since 2007. The previous high was $514 billion reached in 2008, just before the Great Recession hit.” (WTMJ-TW Milwaukee)
  5. Jehovah’s Witnesses Sale of Brooklyn Buildings Nets Millions “The Jehovah’s Witnesses, as part of their move upstate, have sold two prime buildings in Brooklyn Heights to Hawkins Way Capital, an LA-based real estate investment group, Gimme Shelter has learned. Hawkins paid $18 million for 117-125 Columbia Heights — a five-story, three-townhouse combo of Brutalist architecture totaling 53,629 square feet on one of the best blocks in the high-gloss nabe. It was used as office space.” (New York Post)
  6. Target’s Future? Giant Stores That Offer All Sorts of Services “While Walmart Stores Inc. is intent on boosting its e-commerce business to combat Inc., Target Corp. is focused on bricks-and-mortar. Is that its wisest decision? ‘Despite the rapid growth that we're seeing online, as we all know, the majority of retail shopping in America still takes place in a physical store,’ Brian Cornell, Target CEO and chairman, said on a call with representatives from the media on Wednesday, Aug. 16, after the big-box retailer reported a better-than-expected second quarter.” (The Street)
  7. City Plan to Build 1K Apts. in LIC Flood Zone ‘Irresponsible,” Critics Say “Critics of the city's plan to build a school, offices and 1,000 apartments on the Long Island City waterfront called it "irresponsible" to develop the site because it's located in a hurricane evacuation zone that's prone to flooding during storms. Advocates said they would rather see the two city-owned parcels — located next to the East River at the end of 44th Drive — converted to public parkland, with plantings, oyster beds and other green infrastructure to help make the area more resistant to floods.” (DNAInfo)
  8. Are Pop-Up Shops Becoming a Permanent Fixture? “Pop-up shops are getting access to some of the best storefronts in New York City under so-called licensing deals, with a lot less hassle than a regular retailer faces. James Famularo, a commercial broker at Eastern Consolidated, was introduced to licensing deals a few years ago when a lawyer suggested his client use one instead of a traditional lease to rent out a basement retail space at 352 Bowery in Noho. The lawyer pointed out that a lease could allow the tenant to block access to vital building utilities in the basement — possibly preventing the landlord from providing heat or electricity to tenants upstairs — while a license wouldn’t.” (The Real Deal)
  9. Tavistock Plans 155 KSF Office Building in Orlando “Tavistock Development Co. keeps busy in its hometown of Orlando, Fla., with the announcement of a new project at the Lake Nona Town Center mixed-use development within the company’s 17-square-mile Lake Nona master-planned community. The diversified real estate firm will erect a speculative office tower at the 100-acre town center, adding 155,000 square feet of space to a hungry office market.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  10. Staples Spinning Off Retail Business “It’s official: Staples’ new private equity owner, Sycamore Partners, plans to split up the office supplies seller by spinning off its retail operations from its corporate sales unit. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Staples said it expects to separate its U.S. retail business and Canadian retail businesses into two separate Sycamore-affiliated entities. The carveout transactions would be independently financed and yield $1.35 billion for Staples Inc. Post-spinoff they would be run and managed independently, according to the filing.” (Retail Dive)
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