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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (July 20, 2020)

The Wall Street Journal examines a recent trend of big-box retail space being reconfigured as fulfillment centers. With many measures in the last Congressional rescue package on the verge of expiring, commercial real estate leaders are among those pushing for extensions, according to Bisnow. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. The Next Phase of the Retail Apocalypse: Stores Reborn as E-Commerce Warehouses “The building in which she works looks about the same on the outside, but inside, instead of wide aisles filled with shoppers pushing carts, its floor-to-ceiling shelves are packed more densely than ever with goods being picked by employees and shuttled to conveyor belts.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. With Congress Back In Session, CRE Lobbyists Push For Renter, Retail Help In Next Stimulus “Commercial real estate leaders have been pushing to make sure the agreed-upon bill includes their priorities, such as providing support for renters and small businesses, ending the eviction moratorium and assisting building owners in implementing safety measures. Many priorities that commercial real estate and other industries are pushing for involve extending pieces of the CARES Act that expire within the next few weeks, such as the expanded unemployment benefits and the Paycheck Protection Program.” (Bisnow)
  3. The open secret in commercial real estate is that owners regularly take cash out of properties — here’s a look at how much “’The real-estate industry is all about taking cash out, and on a tax-deferred basis, at that,’ said Scott Tross, co-chair of real estate litigation and dispute resolutions at Herrick Feinstein, a law firm. ‘That’s nothing new. But in may respects, what’s happening now is reminiscent of what happened ten years ago or so.’ By that, Tross was referring to the deluge of late payments, defaults and foreclosures that swept up some of the biggest names in U.S. commercial real estate in the wake of the 2007-08 global financial crisis, and saddled their investors will losses.” (Marketwatch)
  4. ‘Less Optimistic’ and ‘More Cautious’: Top C.E.O.s Fret as Virus Cases Rise “With coronavirus cases around the country on the rise and states rolling back their reopening plans, many of the nation's top business leaders are steeling themselves for a period of prolonged economic disruption and the prospect of a slow, halting recovery.” (The New York Times)
  5. Small business owners confront the absence of many Amazon workers for the rest of the year “It’s as if the neighborhoods surrounding one of America’s densest urban corporate headquarters have been sucked back a decade in a matter of months, to a time before some 50,000 well-paid Amazon employees streamed in each day, grabbing morning coffee or hitting the gym for a before-work sweat, swarming the streets in search of lunch and gathering over happy hour drinks.” (The Seattle Times)
  6. A risky bet by America’s mall owners: Plucking retailers out of bankruptcy to salvage a pandemic-hit industry “The Covid-19 pandemic, which temporarily forced malls across the country shut and continues to keep some of them dark, has clearly presented a very unique buying event for these landlords. Analysts say they’re getting these deals on the cheap.” (CNBC)
  7. Howard Hughes CEO Paul Layne on why suburban real estate will thrive in a post-COVID world “These days, there are question marks over the future of living and working in high-density urban areas, and signs that a gradually aging millennial population is setting its sights on a more suburban lifestyle. And while Howard Hughes does own prime commercial real estate in urban cores—such as the Seaport District in Lower Manhattan, and the under-construction Bank of America Tower in Chicago’s Loop—CEO Paul Layne believes his company is primed to capitalize on these emerging trends.” (Fortune)
  8. How corporations are buying up houses — robbing families of the American Dream “While he notes that companies own around 300,000 US homes so far, this is just the tip of the iceberg, as they’re wealthy enough to buy, and tech-savvy enough to manage, ‘multiples more’ with ‘ruthless efficiency.’” (New York Post)
  9. Can I Stop Paying for Amenities That Closed Because of the Pandemic? “New Yorkers who own or rent apartments in buildings with fitness centers and other high-contact indoor amenities are facing the reality that those spaces will be closed indefinitely. Gyms are not included in Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan. (The city entered Phase 3 on July 6.) Despite the long-term closures, most buildings are not offering relief for residents.” (The New York Times)
  10. China’s property market is rebounding from the coronavirus crisis, but some warn it may overheat “China’s housing market is showing signs of recovery after the coronavirus crisis and analysts say that offers bond investors opportunities as developers get back on their feet.” (CNBC)
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