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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (August 29, 2017)

Damage from hurricane Harvey may disrupt Texas’ economic recovery, reports The New York Times. Investors are forming funds to take advantage of a commercial real estate downturn, according to the Wall Street Journal. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Hurricane Impact Upends Texas Economic Recovery “The brutal storm pummeling the Houston area is likely to rank as one of the nation’s costliest natural disasters, with tens of billions in lost economic activity and property damage across a region crucial to the energy, chemical and shipping industries. Economists say the region is likely to recover quickly and continue its torrid pace of growth. But for now, at least, the storm is stunting the area’s upswing and redirecting Houston’s business focus from steady growth to damage assessment and rebuilding.” (The New York Times)
  2. Vultures Begin to Circle Commercial Real Estate “Investors are raising funds to take advantage of busted condominium projects and other distressed property as a correction shows signs of spreading in parts of the commercial real-estate industry. Firms that are either raising money or are planning to start soliciting funds targeting commercial-property woes include Madison Realty Capital, Delshah Capital and a venture of investor Michael Ashner and New York developer Steven Witkoff.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  3. Parfumania Files Chapter 11; to Close More Stores “The nation's largest discount retailer of perfumes and specialty celebrity and designer fragrances has filed for bankruptcy protection with a goal of moving its business forward — and closing more stores. Perfumania Holdings announced in a statement that it has initiated a recapitalization and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to reduce its retail store count "to better align with current consumer shopping patterns." The company also said it planned to increase investments in its online business, and become a privately-held company.” (Chain Store Age)
  4. Fannie Mae Says More Than 36,000 Homes in its Portfolio in Harvey’s Path “Fannie Mae said on Monday 36,583 single-family homes whose mortgages it guarantees were in the initial impact area of Harvey, the most powerful storm to hit Texas in more than 50 years. These homes in Harvey's path have about $5.1 billion in unpaid principal balance, the mortgage finance agency said.” (Reuters)
  5. Douglas Durst on How to Build “a New Neighborhood” in an Unfamiliar Land “After spending over 100 years building up a family real estate dynasty in Manhattan, the Durst Organization is now bringing a pair of massive projects to the banks of Queens. Hallets Point came first, a $1.5 billion, 2.4 million square-foot mixed-use development along the East River waterfront that should feature a total of 2,400 rental apartments across seven buildings once it is finished. The company is also at work developing the Clock Tower site at 29-55 Northern Boulevard in Long Island City.” (The Real Deal)
  6. Lower Property Taxes are Silver Lining for Landlords in Weak Retail Market “In April, the Indiana Supreme Court handed Kohl’s Corp. a victory when it agreed not to review a lowered property assessment that was awarded to one of Kohl’s stores because of the growing vacancy and dropping values of other shopping centers in its area. The decision, which translated into a $219,000 refund for Kohl’s, was a sign of the drain to tax revenues resulting from the worsening retail real estate landscape.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  7. Detroit Suing 700 Property Investors for Unpaid Taxes “The city of Detroit is in the process of filing 700 lawsuits by Thursday against landlords and housing investors in a new effort to collect unpaid property taxes on abandoned homes that have already been forfeited to the government. By the end of November, the litigation sweep may hit 1,500 companies and investors whose abandonment of Detroit homes is blamed for the city’s neighborhood blight epidemic.” (Crain’s Detroit Business)
  8. 5 Mall Redevelopments Adapting to the Changing Retail Climate “Between one-fifth and one-fourth of American shopping malls will close in the next five years, according to Credit Suisse. As more and more mall-based retailers struggle to stay relevant, many developers are thinking outside of big-box retailers to reinvent centers. Here are a few shopping malls that will be completely redeveloped.” (Forbes)
  9. Amazon Will Leave Carnage as it Steamrolls Through Grocery Industry “We all see the breakdowns. The retailers. The industrials. The consumer packaged goods. The rails. The airlines. The oils. At what point do we say ‘OK, it's going to be everything. It's all going to come down?’ You know, I have pondered this kind of juncture so many times, that all I can say is you are looking at a market that doesn't know how to value itself.” (The Street)
  10. Economy Watch: Seattle, Denver Among the Best Cities for Residential Investors “Among large U.S. cities (more than 300,000 people) Seattle is the best residential market in the country, followed by Nashville, Denver, Aurora and Colorado Springs, Colo., according to a recent WalletHub report. The firm determined the “best” U.S. residential markets based on their prospects for long-term growth, equity and profit for investors. For cities with 150,000 and 300,000 people, McKinney, Texas (a suburb of Dallas) was No. 1, followed by Cary, N.C.; Gilbert, Ariz.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Fort Collins, Colo.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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