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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (January 18, 2019)

Forbes offers predictions for family office real estate investment trends in 2019. A large data center project is being planned in Fort Worth, reports Dallas Morning News. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Doom and Gloom: Department Stores’ Disappointing Holiday Sales Results Spell Trouble for 2019 “Department store chains aren’t giving the retail industry much to cheer about coming out of the holiday season. Instead, it’s been a lot of doom and gloom to kick off 2019. Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and Kohl’s each have given Wall Street a glimpse of holiday sales. And even Nordstrom, often declared a top performer in the space, struggled to draw shoppers to its full-price stores during November and December.” (CNBC)
  2. Eight Predictions for Family Office Real Estate Investments in 2019 “Over the last handful of years, family offices have consistently increased their portfolio returns by investing into real estate. In 2018, I attended and conducted presentations, moderated panels and participated in panels at family office and real estate conferences throughout the U.S., Mexico and the U.K.; participated in television shows, podcasts and radio shows not only as the guest but also as the host through the Family Office Real Estate Institute; I gained tremendous insight into what family offices were doing last year — and developed some perspective on what I expect them to be doing in the upcoming year.” (Forbes)
  3. Utah Shows How Labor Force Growth Fuels Economic Growth “Davis Smith, co-founder and CEO of Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear and apparel company, offers a glimpse of why Utah’s economy is booming. Mr. Smith said he considered launching the company in Seattle or the San Francisco Bay Area before deciding nearly five years ago to base it here, partly because of the quick access to top-notch ski resorts and bike trails, but mostly because of the young, growing and well-educated population.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  4. Huge Data Center Project Coming at Fort Worth’s AllianceTexas Project “A new data center company is teaming up with the developers of Fort Worth's huge AllianceTexas development to build a major data center campus in northern Tarrant County. Denver-based Stack Infrastructure and AllianceTexas developer Hillwood will build the 400-plus-acre tech project east of Interstate 35W. ‘We see AllianceTexas as one of the most compelling locations in the country for hyperscale data centers,’ Stack CEO Brian Cox said in a statement.” (Dallas Morning News)
  5. Sears May Live On, But Experts Think a Turnaround is Unlikely “Sears Holding Corp. has gotten another reprieve, care of a bankruptcy auction win for the company’s Chairman Eddie Lampert, but the problems that got the retailer into trouble in the first place still persist with little hope for change, according to experts. If confirmed, the bid would keep more than 400 stores open. ‘While there is no doubt that a shrunken Sears will be more viable than the larger entity which struggled to turn a profit, we remain extremely pessimistic about the chain’s future,’ wrote Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail.” (MarketWatch)
  6. As Homebuyers Flock In, Fort Worth Embraces its Cowtown Reputation “Young professionals and families are discovering the charms of Fort Worth, a city of about 875,000 people with deep roots in the cattle industry. In recent years, this Cowtown has gone Uptown with the rise of upscale condo developments and gated subdivisions offering high-end amenities. Professionals coming from pricey cities outside of Texas are looking for larger luxury homes with a ‘yard for their dog,’ says real-estate agent Martha Williams, co-founder of Williams Trew in Fort Worth.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  7. REIT to Sell 20 Travel Centers in $308M Sale Leaseback “Locally-based Hospitality Properties Trust is selling 20 travel centers located in 15 states to TravelCenters of America LLC in a sale leaseback transaction for $308.2 million. Hospitalities Properties expects to realize a gain of $160 million from these sales. The sales price reflects a 5.7% cap rate based on property level cash flows for the twelve months ended September 30, 2018. The REIT expects to use the proceeds from these sales to repay borrowings under its revolving credit facility and for general business purposes.” (GlobeSt.com)
  8. Lightstone Getting in on the Lending Game “Lightstone Group is joining the ranks of real estate companies launching their own debt platforms.The firm announced Thursday that it is setting up Lightstone Capital, which will aim to address inefficiencies and roadblocks that borrowers are dealing with in the current market. Lightstone hopes to close at least $500 million worth of transactions in its first year.” (The Real Deal)
  9. New Housing Project for Older Adults Rises in SF’s Excelsior “The Excelsior district has been largely left out of the wave of development that has transformed neighborhoods across San Francisco. No pricey condos, trendy apartment buildings or even affordable housing developments have sprouted in the unpretentious area that straddles Mission Street just south of Interstate 280. But now the biggest development in the neighborhood in decades is taking shape on the a hillside above the intersection of Silver Avenue and Mission Street, on the northern edge of the Excelsior. There, the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living — formerly known as the Jewish Home of San Francisco — is undergoing a major expansion that will include 190 senior housing units and a new community center.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  10. Brookfield to Redevelop 4.2 MSF Houston Center “Brookfield Properties recently revealed that it will submit Houston Center, a 4.2 million-square-foot office complex in Houston, to a major redevelopment process. The news comes roughly one year after the company acquired Houston Center for $875 million in one of the city’s largest office transactions ever. ‘Brookfield Properties’ approach is predicated on our distinctive placemaking vision creating successful mixed-use environments offering experiential destinations for today’s office worker, consumers, and visitors alike,’ Travis Overall, executive vice president & head of the Texas Region for Brookfield Properties, said in a prepared statement.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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