10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (December 2, 2016)

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (December 2, 2016)


  1. Howard Schultz Stepping Down as Starbucks CEO to Focus on Higher-End Shops “The move is aimed at refreshing the Starbucks brand, which has been facing increasing competition from specialty roasters such as Stumptown and Intelligentsia as well as from mass coffee purveyors like Dunkin’ Donuts , which has been introducing more high-end drinks such as cold brewed coffee. Mr. Schultz said the approach could also help protect Starbucks from an inevitable loss of traffic from people who order more goods online, instead of making mall trips. He decided that opening high-end coffee shops that would provide a luxurious experience would entice people to leave their homes. Two years ago the company opened its first such store, the Seattle Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, a 15,000-square-foot store where coffee is roasted and people can buy $12 cups of small-batch “reserve” coffees made with a siphon brewing technique.Starbucks is planning to open 20 to 30 more of the high-end stores, including one twice its size in Shanghai next year. The company plans to build up to 1,000 smaller stores similar to the Roastery, minus the on-site roasting, under the ‘Starbucks Reserve’ brand with a logo that consists of just a gold star and the letter ‘R.’” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. Simon Property Group Fights to Reinvent the Shopping Mall “Hundreds of shopping centers across the U.S. are facing obsolescence, abandoned by shoppers who are going online or getting choosier about where they shop. But Roosevelt Field shows that there is still a lot of life in that American mainstay, the suburban mall. The 2.4-million-square-foot center generates about $1,000 in annual retail sales per square foot, according to real estate research firm Green Street Advisors—more than twice the national average for shopping centers. And in its combination of novelty, technology, and customer pampering, Roosevelt Field embodies the strategy that has helped its owner, Simon Property Group  SPG 1.75% , navigate retail’s crisis to stay on top of the mall world. Simon, a real estate giant with headquarters in Indianapolis, has relied on aggressive dealmaking and savvy property management to bolster its position as the largest U.S. operator and developer of shopping malls. Its U.S. portfolio includes 108 malls, most of them high-grossers like Roosevelt Field, and 72 discount outlet centers. That adds up to real estate worth $110 billion.” (Fortune)
  3. Chinese Home Buyers Hunt in Smaller Real-Estate Markets “Forget San Francisco. The next stop for jet-setting Chinese home buyers could be Walla Walla. The Washington city, about 4½ hours outside of Seattle, is among a number of lesser-known U.S. real-estate markets getting attention from Chinese internet users, according to an analysis of online search traffic to Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates. The most popular U.S. markets, by volume of Chinese web traffic to the site, were Southampton, N.Y.; Houston; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Lake Whitingham, Vt., and Monterey, Fla. The company tracked traffic from Chinese IP addresses to the site for 12 months through October. ‘We’re starting to see that the Chinese are looking in college towns—this is a newer phenomenon,’ said John Passerini, Sotheby’s global vice president of interactive marketing, adding that Chinese web visitors represent the largest group outside of the U.S., over 1 million unique visitors, or roughly 10% of total traffic. The rise in traffic to smaller markets, like College Place, Wash., a city in Walla Walla County and home to a local university, suggests that Chinese buyers are looking for alternatives to more competitive luxury markets. The most popular search criteria used by Chinese browsers were ‘waterfront,’ ‘gated community’ and ‘green home.’” (Mansion Global)
  4. Elizabeth Warren called Trump’s Treasury pick the ‘Forrest Gump of the financial crisis’Steve Mnuchin announced he’d been tapped for Treasury Secretary by President-elect Donald Trump only yesterday — but he is already a divisive figure. Mnuchin, who had a history of problems with regulators over the foreclosure practices of his bank — OneWest, based in Pasadena —  served as Finance Chairman of Trump’s campaign. One of his main priorities in the cabinet is a loosening post-crisis regulations, he said Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times. ‘We’re really going to be focused on economic growth and creating jobs,’ Mnuchin said. ‘The No. 1 priority will be to make sure banks lend.’ He has stated that tax cuts are also on his agenda. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has called Mnuchin ‘the Forrest Gump of the financial crisis’ because he ‘managed to participate in all the worst practices on Wall Street’ during his lengthy career. The former Goldman Sachs partner of 17 years worked for George Soros before starting hedge fund Dune Capital Management.” (The Real Deal Los Angeles)
  5. Trump Could Mean New Opportunities For Real Estate Investing In The Heartland “Economic issues in the Heartland are likely to be front and center for economic policy over the next few years. We've combed through the data and identified a dozen markets where new spending on infrastructure and greater emphasis on American-made products could have large positive effects on local job growth - and on home values. At this point, investing in real estate in these markets must frankly be considered ‘speculative’ for the very reasons these markets could quickly benefit from new policies: they are smaller markets where manufacturing is important, growth has been modest or flat, and home values are depressed. At the same time, these are not otherwise-doomed markets where an investment in the absence of new government policies would be insane.” (Forbes)
  6. Electric Car Company to Build $700M Facility in Arizona “Lucid Motors, a luxury mobility company focusing on innovative engineering, design and technology to create electric vehicles, has announced the ground breaking of a car manufacturing center in Casa Grande, Ariz. The facility is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs and $700 million in capital investment by 2022. The development of the new site is slated to commence in the second quarter of 2017, as the company completes the site planning and permitting processes. Hiring is expected to begin in 2017, and the cars production toward the end of 2018…As reported by the Arizona Commerce Authority, Lucid Motors selected the new location after an extensive search across 12 states and 60 sites. The business climate, infrastructure, talent, geographic location and the automotive supply chain in the Arizona-Sonora Megaregion attracted the company.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  7. EdR Starts Construction on $110M Hawaii Student Housing “Collegiate housing developer, owner and manager EdR has started construction on a new $110 million student housing development at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. In a joint venture with Laconia Development, Memphis-based EdR will own 90 percent of the student housing development, and will manage the housing. Featured will be 599 beds in a blend of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom configurations, along with 13,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and structured parking. A rooftop amenity area will offer a fitness center, outdoor terrace lounge, community kitchen, study lounges and gaming areas. All will provide dramatic views of Waikiki, Diamond Head and Manoa Valley…There exist limited student housing options in the area, and the barriers to entry are elevated. The new student housing will address a pent-up demand for up-to-date collegiate residences to serve University of Hawaii students. All entitlements have been obtained. Construction has commenced, and the development is on pace to welcome students in the summer of either 2018 or 2019, depending on how quickly early phases of construction can be completed.” (MultiHousing News)
  8. U.K. activewear retailer has big plans for the U.S. market “Move over Lululemon and Athletica, Sweaty Betty is moving onto your turf. The London-based retailer of stylish activewear for women opened its ninth U.S. store — and third location in the Los Angeles area — on Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood, reported The Los Angeles Times, with a location in San Francisco up next. Sweaty Betty is looking to expand to at least 50 stores in the U.S. over the next five years, the report said, with about eight to 10 locations opening during the next 12 months.” (Chain Store Age)
  9. NYSE Lists First Cannabis-Related Company “A company that plans to buy industrial properties and lease them to medical marijuana cultivators in states that have legalized medical cannabis has gone public on the New York Stock Exchange after the Securities and Exchange Commission declared the company's filing effective on Wednesday. The SEC gave the green light, making Innovative Industrial Properties the first marijuana-related company to list on the NYSE, says securities lawyer Marc Ross, a founding partner at Sichenzia Ross Friedman Ference, despite the fact that cannabis is still illegal under federal law. According to filings with the SEC, Innovative Industrial Properties, which will conduct business as an umbrella partnership real estate investment trust (UPREIT) based in San Diego, was approved by NYSE to list on the exchange back in October. The company has decreased its deal size substantially since its first IPO filing. It's current offering is 3.4 million shares at $67 million.” (Inc.com)
  10. Related Midwest lands $240 million construction loan for Streeterville tower “The developer of a 70-story luxury residential tower in Streeterville has cleared another big hurdle, scoring a $240 million construction loan to finance the project. Work on One Bennett Park, which will include 69 condominiums and 279 apartments, is already well under way, with crews currently pouring concrete for the building's fourth floor, said Curt Bailey, president of Chicago-based Related Midwest, which is developing the project. Related obtained the loan from a group of lenders led by Wells Fargo, he said. ‘It's full steam ahead,’ he said. The loan, the biggest for a downtown residential project since the crash, accounts for 60 percent of the tower's expected $400 million cost. Bailey declined to identify the other lenders or discuss other forms of financing Related is using to pay for the project at 451 E. Grand Ave. In addition to equity and debt, developers will often use mezzanine financing, a secondary class of debt, to fund new buildings.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)


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