ten must reads BlackRock

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (December 9, 2016)


  1. Chinese Investor Makes First Venture into US Student Housing “Grand China Fund made its first foray into U.S. student housing with an investment in the development of a 166-unit, 464-bed student housing high rise, Aspen West Campus, at 1909 Rio Grande St. in Austin, near the University of Texas-Austin main campus. The fund partnered with Aspen Heights Partners on the 17-story development, which is also Aspen’s first project in Austin. Grand China Fund is a Beijing-based real estate private equity fund with about $1.5 billion in assets under management. The fund is recognized as something of a pioneer in overseas real estate investments in China, and has been creating diversified portfolios for investors, both institutions and private clients, since its inception in 2012. The fund partners with operators and developers of commercial real estate in the U.S., and currently owns a portfolio of assets in such markets as Seattle, Los Angles, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Orlando and New York City. Most recently, JPI, a multifamily developer, partnered with Grand China Fund to develop a 747-unit apartment property in Anaheim’s Platinum Triangle.” (MultiHousing News)
  2. Seattle landlord says lots of interest in $750 ‘prison cell’ apartment “When an ad for a new Seattle apartment the size of a parking space was widely circulated on the web this week, it was called a “prison cell” and criticized for having a toilet that wasn’t even behind its own door. But on Thursday, the landlord for the new building said the response to the ad has been encouraging. “We have many candidates interested in the unit,” said Zerky Liang, property manager for Seattle-based WPI Real Estate, which is managing the building. At $750 a month, the micro-unit is one of the cheapest private living spaces in Seattle, where rents have risen 41 percent since the start of 2013. The ad featured a 130-square-foot studio all contained in one room: the toilet, shower and sink were open to the rest of the living space. But Liang said they are now adding a divider — either a sliding door or a curtain — to separate the bathroom facilities from the rest of the unit.” (Seattle Times)
  3. BlackRock Commits to 850K SF at 50 Hudson Yards in Long-Awaited Deal “BlackRock has committed to anchor Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group’s 50 Hudson Yards, the yet-to-be-built tower on the Far West Side. The massive private equity firm has pledged to take 850,000 square feet across 15 floors of the 2.9-million-square-foot property, according to a press release from the developers. BlackRock’s lease will be for 20 years, according to The New York Times, which first reported news of the commitment. It wasn’t immediately clear what the developers were asking for rent. ‘We’re proud to have our name on the marquee of our future home, 50 Hudson Yards,’ Rob Goldstein, the chief operating officer of BlackRock, said in a statement. ‘This state-of-the-art building will be equipped with the design, technology and resources to attract and retain the best talent in the industry to serve our clients.’ BlackRock, currently based at 55 East 52nd Street between Park and Madison Avenues, is slated to move into the 58-story, full-block tower once construction is completed in 2022. Work is slated to start on the property next year.” (Commercial Observer)
  4. Lucky’s CEO forecasts additional new sites in 2017 “Lucky’s Market, which doubled in size this year with the opening of eight new stores and drew the attention of conventional giant Kroger, will open as many — if not more — new locations in 2017, its CEO said this week. Bo Sharon, who co-founded the Niwot, Colo.-based natural/organic retailer with his wife, Trish, in 2003, spoke at the opening of a new store in Plantation, Fla. — one of two grand opening events that day. Earlier Wednesday, Sharon had presided over opening ceremonies of a new Lucky’s in Neptune Beach, Fla. Those new stores increased Lucky’s presence in Florida to seven locations, with at least three more — Melbourne, St. Petersburg and Sarasota — set for openings next year. Lucky’s is also opening a store in Traverse City, Mich., in 2017, with additional locations to be announced, Sharon said.” (Supermarket News
  5. What Florida bank leaders think about real estate lending “Almost 60 percent of Florida bank managers and investors who took part in a Raymond James & Associates survey say that condominiums and apartments have been overbuilt in some markets, and they single out multifamily lending as a top concern. Twenty percent of the bankers said they were most concerned about construction loans from a credit perspective. Banks are wary of having too large a concentration of loans in a single segment — especially commercial real estate — for fear those loans will become difficult to collect in the event of an economic downturn.” (Jacksonville Business Journal)
  6. Adient’s New Motor City HQ “Adient announced its purchase of the Marquette Building in Motor City where it plans to establish its global headquarters. The world’s largest global automotive seating supplier planned a $50 million renovation for the 10-story, 164,000-square-foot property located at 243 West Congress St. ‘We are going to undertake a complete renovation of the Marquette Building while preserving and honoring its place in the history of Detroit,’ Neil Marchuk, Adient’s chief human resources officer, said in a prepared statement. ‘Our employees, customers and suppliers will have a world-class facility to work in and visit, complete with collaborative work spaces, a product showroom, fitness center, food services, rooftop terrace and technologically efficient work spaces.’ Modernization will wrap in approximately two years when Adient plans to consolidate corporate functions from various Michigan locations to the downtown Detroit building. The move will bring 500 jobs to the city, including 100 newly created positions.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  7. NYU reveals design for $1B development “New York University’s new $1 billion academic building will have an all-glass facade that lets neighbors peer into students’ lives. The university revealed its plans for the contentious 735,000-square-foot building at 181 Mercer Street Thursday. Local residents, students and preservationists had opposed the project for years, but a court decision last year gave it the green light. The building, set to open in 2021, will include a gym, a swimming pool, three theaters and class rooms. It will be topped by two towers with faculty and student housing. Kieran Timberlake and David Brody Bond are designing the project, the Wall Street Journal reported. Hallways and staircases will be on the outside of the building behind a glass facade. The school’s opponents were rattled by the announcement. “The notion that covering a 300-foot-long building in glass is going to make it less intrusive is ridiculous and sounds like the proverbial lipstick on a pig,” Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation told the Journal. Neighborhood activists had opposed the project on the argument that it utilizes land that should be a public park.” (The Real Deal)
  8. American Dream’s new look is unveiled “The sprawling, multi-colored Xanadu mall the Mills Corporation situated alongside the New Jersey Turnpike was mocked by Giants fans at nearby Met Life Stadium and branded an eyesore by Governor Chris Christie. But Triple Five took over the project in the North Jersey Meadowlands, set to filling it with theme parks, a Cirque du Soleil theatre, and luxury retail, and now has revealed plans for a pristine, white exterior. ‘Our vision is to create an elegant and visually exciting façade that will showcase the exceptional retail and entertainment destinations found inside American Dream,’ said Don Ghermezian, President of Triple Five Worldwide. Triple Five, which owns Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, envisions American Dream as a tourist attraction in and of itself, with its indoor ski slope, Dreamworks amusement park, and Nickelodeon water park drawing people to retail destinations like Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, and Hermes. Its dining complex will house 15 full-service restaurants.” (Chain Store Age)
  9. Landmark Pier Sixty-Six hotel and marina acquired for $165 million “The iconic Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six hotel and marina in Fort Lauderdale has a new owner. On Thursday, Orlando-based real estate development group Tavistock Development Co. announced it has acquired the 384-room hotel and 127-slip marina complex. The purchase price was $165 million, which included a parking lot, according to a company spokesman. The hotel and marina will continue to be operated by Interstate Hotels & Resorts, and details about future renovation plans will be announced in 2017, Tavistock said.” (Miami Herald)
  10. Why big retailers like Under Armour are gaga about Center City Philadelphia “Commanding a stage with MTV-like videos of athletes who exceeded expectations, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank boasted of his company's growth to a packed room of developers, brokers, and retailers, and encouraged them not to settle for mediocre results. The sports apparel and equipment firm has seen 26 straight quarters of revenue growth, rising from $17,000 in revenue in 1996 to $5 billion now with 550 stores and more than 14,000 employees. ‘We're just getting started,’ Plank said at last week's New York International Council of Shopping Centers National Deal Making Conference. And Philadelphia is part of the plan. ‘We love the city,’ Plank said later. ‘The City of Brotherly Love absolutely fits the mantra of Under Armour.’ The Baltimore-based company is one of 45 national retailers since 2013 that have opened shops in Center City and helped fuel a $1 billion surge in retail investment in the city over the last five years, according to a Center City District report released last week.” (Philly.com)
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