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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (July 1, 2019)

Suburbs are growing once again, reports the Wall Street Journal. Walgreens isn’t done with store closures, according to Forbes. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. American Suburbs Swell Again as a New Generation Escapes the City “This Raleigh, N.C., suburb was declared the best place to live in America by a national magazine in 2015, around the time Lindsay and Terry Mahaffey were drawn by its schools, affordable housing and quaint downtown. The couple found a sprawling five-bedroom house next to a horse farm for $782,000, half the cost they would have paid in the Seattle suburb they left behind. Many other families had the same idea. Apex, nicknamed the Millennial Mayberry, is the fastest-growing suburb in the U.S., according to, and the town is struggling to keep pace with all the newcomers.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Google Wants to Build 20,000 Homes. It May Need More than $14 Billion “Google has committed to a $1 billion plan that would help build 20,000 homes in the Bay Area over the next decade. But that round number represents the smallest of down payments on what has become the region’s thorniest problem. A new apartment in the Bay Area costs about $700,000 to build, including land and fees, said Cynthia Parker, CEO of Bridge Housing, a major nonprofit developer in San Francisco. The price tag on 20,000 units could be more than $14 billion.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  3. Walgreens Isn’t Done Closing Drugstores in U.S. or Abroad “Walgreens Boots Alliance is closing 200 Boots drugstores in the United Kingdom as part of a global ‘transformation cost management program’ launched earlier this year that has figured in store closures in the U.S. The plan disclosed late last week and confirmed by Walgreens Boots Alliance to shutter 200 U.K. stores and consolidate them with other Boots locations comes after a decision announced earlier this year to shutter more Rite Aid drugstores in the U.S. than originally anticipated.” (Forbes)
  4. Apartment Demand Hits Five-Year High “Demand for rental apartments reached a five-year high this spring, spurred by new household formation and lagging home sales. The number of new apartment move-ins in the second quarter of 2019 increased 11% over the same period last year, according to a national report scheduled to be released Monday by real-estate analytics firm RealPage . The demand surge drove the national occupancy rate to 95.8%, compared with 95.4% at the end of the second quarter of 2018, the report said.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  5. This Is the No. 1 Zip Code in America for Baby Boomers “Call them boomtowns — for boomers. In certain spots across America, a very high percentage of the population is made up of baby boomers (defined as those born between 1948 and 1962), according to a recent analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by real estate rental site RENTCafe, which analyzed zip codes in cities with at least 100,000 residents. No. 1 on that list: the 85266 zip code — which is an affluent neighborhood in Scottsdale, Ariz., — where more than one in three residents is a baby boomer.” (MarketWatch)
  6. Energy Industry Yields Mixed Bag for Office Sector “There may not be a direct connection, but oil impacts office real estate and the office sector in most of North America’s energy markets continues to feel the effects of the oil downturn of 2014-2017. However, change is afoot at various levels, according to JLL’s new 2019 energy outlook report. Full turnaround of the office sector will come at differing points in the North American energy markets: Dallas, Denver, Fort Worth, Houston and Pittsburgh in the U.S., and Calgary in Canada.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  7. Commercial Real Estate Can Fund the American Dream “Unfortunately, many Americans believe that risk is a reward of the wealthy and, when it comes to money and savings, stick with what they know — whether that’s a high-yield savings account, a 401(k) or dipping a toe into the stock market.  When it comes to alternative investments, while Americans want in, many simply don’t believe they’re qualified or have a hard time knowing where to start.” (Forbes)
  8. Land Use Sage of ‘Flinstone House’ Reveals Pitfalls in Pursuing Real Estate Development Dreams “A dispute between property owner Florence Fang and the town of Hillsborough, a small, exclusive enclave in the eastern-facing hillsides of San Mateo County, the site of a locally famous ‘Flintstone House,’ represents a stark lesson in how not to undertake improvements to real property, whether commercial or, in this instance, residential.” (North Bay Business Journal)
  9. Miami’s I-395 Reconstruction Project Lambasted as Traffic-Generating Boondoggle “Miami’s titanic I-395 reconstruction project, which includes double-decking a section of State Road 836, has been hailed as a solution that will make traffic jams disappear. But as the history of other road-fattening projects shows, it will do just the opposite, making it one of the worst ‘Highway Boondoggles’ in the country, according to a report on wasteful spending.” (Miami Herald)
  10. Charlotte Lands Lowe for $153M Tech Hub “Home improvement giant Lowe’s has chosen Charlotte, N.C., as the location for its new innovation center, leasing up the entire 357,000-square-foot office portion of an upcoming tower where it will house an army of tech professionals. The retailer plans to hire up to 2,000 workers from software engineers to data scientists for the new global technology hub, which will span 15 upper floors in the 23-story building being developed by Childress Klein and Ram Realty Advisors.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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