10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (December 14, 2016)

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (December 14, 2016)


  1. Hotel Industry Mourns the Loss of Eric Hilton “The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced that Eric Michael Hilton, director of the Hilton Foundation & retired vice chairman of Hilton Hotels Corp., passed away on Dec. 10 from natural causes at the age of 83. ‘Eric was a gregarious, charismatic leader who represented our family superbly throughout his career, both in the hotel business, and the work of our foundation,’ Barron Hilton, the retired chairman, president & CEO of the lodging enterprise, said in a prepared release. ‘Through his charm and tenacity, Eric helped spur our growth through franchising, and guide our return to the international marketplace through Conrad International Hotels. My brother will be missed by everyone who benefitted from his kindness, friendship and philanthropy.’ In 1956, a 23-year old Hilton began working in the family business at the new Dallas Statler Hilton and was promoted and named resident manager of the Deshler Hilton in Columbus, Ohio, six years later. In 1960, he received his first appointment as general manager of the Hilton in Aurora, Ill., and followed that up the next year by being named general manager of the Shamrock Hilton.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  2. Study: Shopper average holiday spending beats 2015 “The final shopping days of the holiday season are in full swing, and it is driving harried shoppers to open their wallets even wider. The average spend per gift is up 37% over last year, and men are spending roughly 20% more than women on average, according to new data from Loop Commerce, which evaluated purchases made through its network of top retailers including Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Coach, among others. From Dec. 3 to Dec. 9, men spent an average of $134 on gifts, while women averaged $112. For men, this represents an increase of 15% versus the same period last year. Women spent an impressive 40% more this year than last, data revealed. Apparel continues to outperform other gifts this year. The category represented seven of the top 10 gifts purchased online the first week of December, with fleece sweatshirts being the top gift of the season, so far. While the top three categories for gifts were consistent year-over-year, within these categories there has been a shift toward more personalized, thoughtful gifts, especially in apparel.  In 2015, the top gifts were dominated by makeup, gift baskets, and consumer electronics, Loop said. High-fashion accessories, like handbags, represented 12% of transactions, and home items, such as kitchen mixers and seasonal gift sets, were 10% of gifts. Other notable products include consumer electronics and footwear.” (Chain Store Age)
  3. Foreclosures fall to bubble-era lows, CoreLogic says “The housing market has nearly healed from the wounds of the crisis nearly a decade ago, but some measures of distress still aren’t back to the levels they held before the housing downturn began. There were 30,000 completed foreclosures in October, data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday. That’s down 25% compared to a year ago and a whopping 75% lower than the post-crisis peak of 118,287 in September 2010. But foreclosures averaged 22,000 per month between 2000 and 2006, CoreLogic noted in a release.” (MarketWatch)
  4. Soccer superstars dodge red card in Soho development play gone wrong “Maldini boots it up to Zidane… Zidane with the silky flick over to Shevchenko… Shevchenko with the cross to Vieri….It’s a call that no soccer commentator ever got to make. But four European footballing legends who teamed up to tackle the Manhattan real estate market have survived their first nasty off-pitch battle: a lawsuit springing out of a rocky development deal. Zinedine Zidane, Christian Vieri, Paolo Maldini and Andriy Shevchenko, along with their development partner Rafi Gilby, were sued last year by a former partner, Avihu Gerafi. Gerafi alleged that Zidane and the other defendants were supposed to contribute $12 million into their joint development venture at 219 Hudson Street, as a condition for Gerafi transferring ownership of the land to their LLC, Hudson Square Hotel LLC. Through LLCs, Zidane, Shevchenko, Vieri and Maldini had each acquired 10-percent stakes in the venture to build a 50 or 60-key hotel in Tribeca, their first Manhattan real estate project.” (The Real Deal)
  5. Neiman Marcus CEO Blames Fading Customer Loyalty for Latest Sales Plunge “The sales carnage at Neiman Marcus is getting worse. The luxury department store said on Tuesday that comparable sales declined 8% in its most recent fiscal quarter, the kind of drop Neiman hasn’t seen in about six years when customers were still just emerging from the financial crisis. But this time, there is a new culprit, according to Neiman: Shoppers have become far less loyal, in large part because of the ease of internet shopping and price comparisons, making it hard for the retailer to hang on to its customers.” (Fortune)
  6. Optimism, Caution Set To Greet Real Estate In 2017 “About this time last year, some of the smartest minds in real estate predicted 2016 to be another robust year for many U.S. markets. There was reason to be optimistic. Tight supply in many areas pushed prices up 4% nationally in 2015, following a 6.4% hike in 2014, according to Clear Capital, a provider of real estate data and analysis. But depending on where you live, 2016 endured an uneven year. While prices are set to see modest gains again this year, some important real estate markets showed signs of slowing.  Miami saw home prices rise 10.1% in 2015, but prices have been falling much of the year and most observers doubt that market will see double-digit gains in 2017. The same could be said for San Francisco, Seattle and Denver – three western markets that saw sharp increases the past three years but are all poised to come back down to earth. Even in New York City, where property prices had ranked among the highest in 2015 and 2016, a glut of new housing at the high end is leading some to predict a severe slowdown in the country’s biggest housing market next year." (Forbes)
  7. This could be the biggest condos-to-apartments switch in the city “After taking over one North Side condominium tower and converting it back into apartments, a New Jersey investment firm is plotting a similar deal at an even bigger one overlooking Belmont Harbor. Strategic Properties of North America has agreed to buy Bel Harbour, a 30-story, 207-unit high-rise at 420 W. Belmont Ave., according to people familiar with the deal. It quite possibly could be the biggest condo building in the city to deconvert, or return to rentals, a complex real estate maneuver that has become popular as apartment rents and property values have climbed the past several years.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
  8. Yardi Matrix: Baltimore’s Downtown Surge “Despite the ongoing revival of the downtown area, growth in Baltimore’s multifamily market remains weak compared to nationwide metrics. Yet benefiting from demand in core submarkets and the proximity to Washington, D.C.’s more dynamic but less affordable market, the metro continues to display stable fundamentals, with rents up 3.3 percent year-over-year. Anchored by its universities and health-care providers, the metro has a consistent talent pool of highly skilled workers. Recording positive population growth for the better part of the last decade, Baltimore is perceived as a safe market by both investors and developers. Several large projects—including the 3,100-acre Tradepoint Atlantic industrial park, the $1.1 billion Harbor Point development and Sagamore’s $5.5 billion Port Covington project—highlight the city’s ability to diversify its economy and use the demographic shift as a long-term booster.” (MultiHousing News)
  9. Brooklyn politicians want 421a for pricey outer borough condos “Two Brooklyn state senators are leading a push to make larger and pricier outer borough condo developments eligible for the 421a tax abatement. State lawmakers are currently working on a renewal of the program after construction unions and real estate leaders agreed on wage requirements last month for projects in Manhattan south of 96th Street as well as the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts. A June 2015 proposal never signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo severely limited the eligibility of condo developments for the tax break. Brooklyn senators Simcha Felder and Marty Golden want to loosen those restrictions.I want to be clear that it’s been an ongoing quest,’ Felder told Politico. ‘It’s been an ongoing battle since (421-a) died. Bringing 421-a back to life is a wonderful goal, but it should certainly include people in the outer boroughs.’ Under the June 2015 proposal, only outer borough condos with less than 35 units and an average price of around $700,000 would qualify, and only if a resident had lived in the unit for at least five years. Cuomo refused to sign the bill before unions and developers reached a deal on wage requirements at 421-a developments. As talks dragged on, the program expired in January.” (The Real Deal)
  10. CoStar files suit against Xceligent, its biggest rival “Commercial real estate data company CoStar Group is suing its biggest rival Xceligent for copyright infringement, in a near mirror image of its previous lawsuits against data startups RealMassive, LoopNet and against users of CompStak. In a complaint filed Tuesday in Kansas City, Missouri federal court, CoStar accused Xceligent of “piracy” and “copyright infringement on an industrial scale,” alleging that Xceligent’s researchers regularly trawl CoStar’s and LoopNet’s (now a CoStar subsidiary) databases to steal property data and images. The firm seeks millions of dollars in damages and injunctive relief to prevent the alleged copyright infringement from happening again. Xceligent immediately dismissed the charges in a statement, accusing CoStar of anti-competitive behavior. ‘The lawsuit fits with a pattern of action by CoStar of filing lawsuits against its competitors to protect its dominant market position in commercial real estate research in the United States,’ Xceligent’s CEO Doug Curry said in a statement. ‘In fact, in August 2012, the Federal Trade Commission issued an Order restraining CoStar from engaging in certain activities, which the Federal Trade Commission determined to be anti-competitive in nature.’” (The Real Deal Miami)


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