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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (July 13, 2017)

Investors are betting on non-prime mortgages once again, according to the Wall Street Journal. The State Department spent thousands of dollars on room bookings at the Trump hotel in Vancouver in February, reports the Washington Post. Here are today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Condo Developers Bet Jersey City Will be the Next Brooklyn “Nine years after the last condominium craze faded away in Jersey City, N.J., condos are finally staging a comeback. Two new tall condo projects are launching sales this week in Jersey City, with more than 670 apartments in a variety of styles, finishes and prices.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Warren Buffett’s REITs “Warren Buffett is picky about his real estate investment trusts. Of the 200 REITs publicly traded in the U.S., Buffett has purchased only one for his 47-stock portfolio at Berkshire Hathaway and one more for his personal holdings. Buffett purchased both of the REITs in the past two years, suggesting an increase in interest in the sector or in their attractiveness. An analysis shows what his picks have in common and how they align with his stated investment criteria.” (Forbes)
  3. A Big Deal in Nonprime Mortgages Proves Leery Investors are Hungry Again “The appetite for riskier mortgages is rising, and a small cadre of investment firms is ready to feed it. Angel Oak Capital Advisors just announced its second rated securitization of nonprime residential mortgages this year, a deal worth just more than $210 million and its largest ever. Its first deal was slightly less, but demand from borrowers and investors alike is growing, and the securitizations are growing with it.” (CNBC)
  4. Pittsburgh Proposes Turning VA Property into Law Enforcement and EMS Center “Pittsburgh officials have proposed turning a 164-acre former Veterans Affairs site into a law enforcement center after the federal government declared it excess property. Mayor William Peduto's Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin testified Wednesday morning before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on the proposal to turn the VA property in Lincoln-Lemington into a law enforcement and emergency management center.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  5. State Department Spent More Than $15,000 for Rooms at New Trump Hotel in Vancouver “The State Department spent more than $15,000 to book 19 rooms at the new Trump hotel in Vancouver when members of President Trump’s family headlined the grand opening of the tower in late February. The hotel bookings — which were released to The Washington Post under a Freedom of Information Act request — reflect the first evidence of State Department expenditures at a Trump-branded property since President Trump took office in January.” (Washington Post)
  6. Here’s How Much Money the GM Building Makes “Harry Macklowe may not want to look at these numbers. The GM Building, which the developer lost during the 2008 financial crisis, could make a whopping $184.3 million annually in net operating income over the coming years, according to a new analysis from Fitch Ratings. After deducting debt payments and capital expenses that would still leave the building’s owner, Boston Properties, with an annual profit of close to $90 million.” (The Real Deal)
  7. This is Wayback Burgers’ Answer to Skyrocketing Manhattan Rents “Wayback Burgers has found a solution to sky-high rent in New York City — a 5-by-10-foot food cart. Since its first store opened up in 1991, Wayback Burgers has been steadily growing. The chain currently has more than 120 locations in 27 states, but it has yet to penetrate the New York City market. That is, until now. The private burger chain has partnered with Move Systems, a food cart and truck manufacturer, to gain a foothold in the Big Apple.” (CNBC)
  8. ‘Google Effect’ Could Raise Real Estate Prices in Downtown San Jose “A new example of what might be called the “Google effect” is leading real estate speculators to drop big money on properties in downtown San Jose. East coast investors just bought an $80 million office building near the Diridon Station, not far from where Google is set to build a huge new campus. The building sits at the crossroads of Almaden and San Carlos streets. But the sale of 303 Almaden also crosses a price line never seen in the downtown area.” (CBS SF Bay Area)
  9. Sales at Apple’s Fifth Avenue Store Plummet by Over $100M “When pessimists gripe that the rise of online retail spells doom for Manhattan’s brick-and-mortar shops, optimists often counter by pointing to Apple’s store on Fifth Avenue. The famous glass cube has been a phenomenal success, generating billions in revenue and becoming one of the most profitable stores in the world. But newly released numbers, buried in a Fitch Ratings report on the GM Building, should give even the optimists cause for concern.” (The Real Deal)
  10. J.C. Penney to Add Toy Sections in All Stores “Department store operator J.C. Penney Co Inc said it was opening toy shops in all its stores and has already doubled its online assortment of toys over the last year, with plans to expand further by the holiday season. The retailer, which has over 1,000 stores, will sell toys from brands including Mattel's Fisher Price, Hasbro and Playmobil, with some stores also featuring a play area.” (Reuters)
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