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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (January 15, 2019)

Airbnb posted second straight year of profitability on an adjusted basis, according to CNBC. Blackstone is almost done raising funds for its largest ever real estate fund, reports the Wall Street Journal. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. NYC Developer Extell Names New CEO “Gary Barnett, one of New York City’s most prolific developers, is naming a CEO to head Extell Development Co., the company he founded in 1989. Sush Torgalkar, formerly the chief operating officer of Westbrook Partners, will become president and CEO. Mr. Barnett, who will stay on as the company’s chairman, made the announcement to his staff on Monday. Mr. Barnett, 63, is not retiring and will work closely with Mr. Torgalkar, according to a statement from Extell.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Airbnb Says it’s Been Profitable for Two Years Straight as it Heads for IPO “Airbnb posted its second straight year of profitability on an adjusted basis as it heads toward a possible IPO, the start-up announced Tuesday. Airbnb is one of several giant private tech companies gearing up for a public debut this year, alongside Uber, Lyft and WeWork. But Airbnb is eyeing the offering with two years of EBITDA profits, according to a company memo seen by CNBC. EBITDA is a measure of operating profits before financing-related expenses like interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.” (CNBC)
  3. Six Key Factors to Consider When Planning This Year’s Real Estate Goals “Real estate is an industry that is always in a state of flux. As such, it is imperative that entrepreneurs keep up to date with current best practices, market shifts, cutting-edge technologies and new opportunities. These factors can significantly impact a business’ success, especially as the new year begins. To keep relevant, all of these factors — and more — need to be considered when planning goals for the new year.” (Forbes)
  4. Lawsuit Filed Challenging San Francisco’s New Central SoMa Zoning Plan “A nonprofit housing group has filed the first of what is expected to be several lawsuits challenging the rezoning of San Francisco’s Central South of Market area, suits that could significantly delay the development of more than 6 million square feet of office space and thousands of housing units. In the lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Monday, the Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium, the legal arm of the affordable housing group Todco, argues that the plan’s environmental study was inadequate because it didn’t take into account the impact the neighborhood changes would have on public services such as police, fire and recreation.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  5. Blackstone Aims to Throw Weight Around with a Record Real Estate Fund “Blackstone Group LP is about to finish raising the largest-ever real-estate fund, which at $20 billion will amplify the investment firm’s influence over prices paid for major office towers, shopping centers and hotels around the world. The $20 billion that Blackstone has raised from U.S. and overseas pension funds, foreign governments and wealthy individuals is more than twice as large as any fund ever raised by a competitor, according to data firm Preqin. The fund is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019 for all but some of its smaller retail investors, according to people familiar with the matter.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  6. Frisco’s Troubled Wade Park Is Back on the Foreclosure List “Frisco's $2 billion Wade Park project is on the foreclosure list again. It's been a year since the huge mixed-use project on the Dallas North Tollway was first listed for forced sale by lenders who say the project's developers have defaulted on more than $130 million in debts. Work halted on the $175 million project - one of North Texas' largest - in the summer of 2017.” (Dallas Morning News)
  7. The First Piece of the Biggest Real Estate Project in Miami is Ready “The first piece of one of the largest real estate projects in the U.S. is ready and open for tenants. Caoba, a 43-story apartment tower located at 698 NE First Ave., marks the initial phase of completion of Miami Worldcenter, the 27-acre mixed-use development that sprawls across 10 city blocks in downtown Miami. The building houses 444 apartments ranging in size from 500 to 1,300 square feet. 60 percent of the units are studios and one-bedrooms. Rents range from $1,775 to $4,275. The rental office will open later this month and move-ins start January 31.” (Miami Herald)
  8. A Sears Liquidation Would Not Be All Bad for Commercial Real Estate “One step forward, two steps back. That seems to sum up it up for the retail segment of commercial real estate lately as Sears ponders a liquidation that would flood an already soaked market with an estimated millions more square feet of empty space. Though store closures and bankruptcies have been rampant in recent years, not all that real estate space has remained vacant. Rather, creative steps are being taken to fill it and create value.” (Forbes)
  9. New York Developer Takes Over Fulton Market Office Project “A New York real estate developer known for its Loop towers is taking the reins on a proposed Fulton Market District office project next to Google's Midwest headquarters. Tishman Speyer has struck a joint venture deal with veteran Chicago developer Mark Goodman to lead development of a 12-story office building at 310 N. Sangamon St., according to public records and sources familiar with the agreement.” (Crain’s Chicago Business, subscription required)
  10. Boston Officials Propose New Taxes on Some Real Estate Deals to Pay for More Housing “In the thick of an affordable housing crisis that has taken hold across Greater Boston, city councilors have proposed levying fees on high-end real estate deals to help pay for more housing — part of a bold and controversial movement across the region to tax developers who have been profiting off of a historic building boom. The proposal would set a tax of up to 6 percent on many commercial and residential sales over $2 million and establish a “flipping” tax of up to 25 percent on some properties that are sold twice within two years.” (Boston Globe)
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