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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (February 27, 2018)

New York State Comptroller has filed a lawsuit against Wynn Resorts’ board, reports MarketWatch. A Trump Organization executive says the company donated profits from foreign government hotel patrons to the U.S. Treasury, according to CNBC. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. New York Comptroller Sues Wynn Resorts Board for Failing to Hold ex-CEO to Account in Sexual Misconduct Case “New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has filed a lawsuit against the board of Wynn Resorts Ltd. alleging that some directors were aware that former Chief Executive Stephen Wynn had repeatedly engaged in sexual misconduct with employees, but failed to hold him accountable or investigate. ‘These board directors and officers were duty-bound to protect employees and the company, yet they failed to confront allegations of predatory behavior,’ DiNapoli said.” (MarketWatch)
  2. Trump Org Says It Donated Foreign Profits to Treasury, But Won’t Say How Much “A Trump Organization executive says the company has donated profits from foreign government patrons at its hotel properties to the U.S. Treasury, but won't say how much. Executive Vice-President and Chief Compliance Counsel George Sorial says in a statement that the donation was made on Feb. 22 and includes profits from Jan. 20 through Dec. 31, 2017. The company declined to provide a sum or breakdown.” (CNBC)
  3. Seven Secrets to Successful Single-Family Rental Real Estate Investing “Real estate investing in general, and single-family real estate investing in particular, is very different from buying stocks, commodities or most other investments. Real estate is a leveraged investment that has the potential for delivering excellent returns because the cash down payment is a fraction of the retail value, yet it is also a hands-on venture where you make more decisions that affect your returns.” (Forbes)
  4. Rising Mortgage Rates Hit New Homes Sales Hard, an Ominous Sign for Builders “Sales of newly built homes are falling, and the culprit is clear. Homebuyers increasingly can't afford what they want. Higher mortgage rates, combined with the loss of homeowner tax breaks in some of the nation's most expensive markets, are taking away buying power. Sales fell in December, when the new tax law was signed and then again in January, when mortgage rates moved higher. Sales are now at their lowest level since August of last year.” (CNBC)
  5. Filling the Toys ‘R’ Us Void “Retail stocks are riding a wave of unexpected optimism after a strong holiday season. For many, there will be a windfall from the tax cut as well. How they plan to use that extra cash will become clearer this week, when many will report fourth-quarter earnings and give guidance for the coming year. The better environment is unlikely to be a game changer for businesses that are badly suffering, but those that have been smart about navigating the industry’s challenges will get a meaningful boost.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  6. America’s Most Successful Malls Are Worth Billions and Defying the Retail Meltdown with Luxury Stores and Special Events—Take a Look Inside “Despite the retail apocalypse claiming stores across the country, some of the most successful malls in the US are bringing in more than $1,000 per square foot in sales. According to research by the boutique firm Boenning & Scattergood, which was reported by CNBC, the 20 most valuable malls in America bring in around $21 billion in retail sales each year. These malls, owned by the likes of Simon Property Group and Westfield, have few vacancies. In addition to traditional stores, many of the most valuable malls include food halls with local eateries, pop-up shops, and grocers, plus experiences like movie screenings or concerts.” (Business Insider)
  7. UCSD to Offer Real Estate Major Starting Fall 2018 “UC San Diego will offer a Bachelor of Science in Real Estate and Development (RED) starting Fall 2018. Housed under the Urban Studies and Planning Department, the major will feature classes like ‘USP 15. Applied Urban Economics for Planning and Development,’ ‘USP 152. Real Estate Development Finance and Investment,’ and ‘USP 153. Real Estate and Development Market Analysis.’ Professor Rabinowitz Bussell said the major and minor came about after surveying Urban Planning alumni and seeing that many had entered the field of real estate. She sees the minor as a first step in building a comprehensive program.” (The Triton)
  8. How SoftBank, World’s Biggest Tech Investor, Throws Around its Cash “Tech magnate Masayoshi Son often befuddles people in his industry with the large sums he is willing to pay for stakes in companies. That includes his directors. Shigenobu Nagamori says he objected when Mr. Son, chief executive of SoftBank Group Corp., told his board in 2016 he wanted to pay $32 billion for Arm Holdings PLC.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  9. Thriving Economy Fuels Dynamic Market in Charlotte “Charlotte’s multifamily market continues to thrive. The city’s robust growth is attributable to its thriving economy, low cost of living and high quality of life. The Southeast’s booming financial, logistics and energy center is a prime destination for investors, developers and residents alike. Steady employment growth has made the city an attractive target for expanding businesses, ensuring long-term demand for new inventory. Job growth is accelerating faster than the national average and is expected to remain strong throughout 2018.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  10. Would-Be Single-Asset REIT Delays Initial Offering “Aspen REIT, an investment vehicle that had aimed to sell shares in the St. Regis resort in Aspen, Colo. as America’s first publicly traded single-asset real estate investment trust has postponed its opening salvo, according to a statement from the company. Its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange had been scheduled for some time in February. ‘We decided to pull the deal in order to re-tool our crowd-funding distribution channel in order to create a seamless conversion of the robust traffic to our site,’ the REIT’s founder, Stephane De Baets, said in a statement.” (Commercial Observer)
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