10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (July 22, 2019)

J.C. Penney insists it hasn’t hired restructuring advisers, reports the Associated Press. Forbes looks at the popularity of cannabis-related real estate in California. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Penney: We Haven’t Hired Advisors for In-Court Restructuring “J.C. Penney, looking to soothe rattled investors, said Friday it hasn’t hired any advisers to prepare for an in-court restructuring or bankruptcy. The company’s statement came after a report said Penney was hiring experts to help restructure its debt. Reuters reported Thursday that Penney has held discussions with lawyers and investment bankers who work with struggling companies on debt restructurings. It cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter.” (The Associated Press)
  2. Is Cannabis a Modern Goldrush for California Real Estate? “Cannabis is poised to shake the real estate industry to its foundation. Virtually mainstream, it has effectively shed its stoner reputation. Millennials are receptive to it (and less offended by it) while Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers progressively appreciate cannabis’ undeniable health benefits for their aches and pains. Cannabis is no longer an underground stoner binge, it's a booming cottage industry rebranded for wellness. In real estate, if you build it (with cannabis), they will come.” (Forbes)
  3. 1 Vote Kills San Bruno Housing Plan Near Transit That the City Had Sought “Over the past three years, developer Mike Ghielmetti did everything he was supposed to do to get a 425-unit housing project approved on El Camino Real in San Bruno. It seemed the city of 43,000, home to BART and Caltrain stations, was ready to welcome housing. Some other Peninsula cities have fought residential development for decades. In contrast, San Bruno officials and voters recently embraced rezoning a swath of the city’s downtown for transit-oriented housing. They asked developers to come up with projects as part of a plan that called for 1,600 new homes, as well as shops and restaurants.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  4. With So Many Vacant Stores, E-Commerce Is Only Part of the Problem “Don’t blame all the vacant stores on e-commerce. Sky-high rents are squeezing retailers, too. Although commercial retail rents are down from recent peaks, they haven’t fallen as fast as sales at struggling chains. The rents remain higher than prerecession levels in many prime shopping areas such as Manhattan, Los Angeles and Dallas. In a high-profile example of this tug of war, Barneys New York Inc. has hired restructuring advisers and is considering several options including a possible bankruptcy filing, as it seeks to renegotiate the lease on its Madison Avenue flagship and other locations, according to a person familiar with the situation.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  5. Vail Resorts to Acquire Peak Resorts for $11 a Share, or $264 Million “Vail Resorts definitively agreed to acquire Peak Resorts (SKIS - Get Report)  for $11 a share, or $264 million, the companies said Monday. The deal more than doubled Peak Resorts' stock price, which recently was at $10.86. Vail Resorts' stock was up 2.8% at $231.98. Both companies' boards approved the all-cash deal and will seek the signoff of Peak Resorts' shareholders. The deal also faces regulatory scrutiny and awaits antitrust clearance.” (The Street)
  6. Amazon Plans to Build a Bike-Friendly Headquarters Complete with Employee Showers in Arlington, Virginia—Take a Look “Plans for HQ2 are split into three phases. The first phase in Crystal City of Arlington represents all 2019 progress: Amazon opened its first temporary office in Crystal City in June, and it will add additional temporary office space later in the year. Phase two focuses on the Metropolitan Park area of Pentagon City in Arlington, for which construction will begin in 2020 once Amazon's development plans are approved by Arlington. Finally, phase three will represent construction in Pen Place in Arlington.” (Business Insider)
  7. Hollister’s Lingerie Brand Gilly Hicks Is Staging a Comeback with Pop-Up Shops in Malls “Looking for pockets of growth in a tumultuous retail industry, Abercrombie & Fitch is betting it can find one in selling underwear and bras to teens and tweens. The retailer has struggled to meet analysts’ sales expectations in recent quarters, with momentum slowing at its Hollister brand, in particular. It continues to shut stores, including some flagships, as it remodels others and focuses on smaller-format versions. But Abercrombie says its recently reinvigorated lingerie brand, Gilly Hicks, has been outperforming other categories and could present one of the company’s biggest growth opportunities.” (CNBC)
  8. Six Real Estate Startups Revolutionizing the Industry “The establishment of in 2008, and its explosive growth sent a strong signal that the real estate industry will never be the same again. The subsequent decade witnessed the emergence of an unprecedented number of startups whose innovations are intentionally or unintentionally changing the face of the industry forever. Words such as blockchain, fintech, big data, predictive analytics, and machine learning are now the standard in real estate with their ideas and technologies.” (Entrepreneur)
  9. Compass Datacenters to Invest $3B in Multi-State Expansion “Compass Datacenters just announced a massive expansion plan. The wholesale data center developer, bolstered by new capital commitments, will invest $3 billion in the development of new data center campuses across the U.S. over the near term. Compass will finance the growth spurt with the assistance of an expanded capital infusion from existing investors, RedBird Capital Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, in addition to funds from a new investment partner, the Azrieli Group.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  10. JBG Smith Unveils New Expansion Plan for RiverHouse Property Near Amazon HQ2 “Developer JBG Smith says it has submitted new plans for a major redevelopment of its RiverHouse apartment property in Pentagon City, four blocks from Amazon’s new HQ2. The developer announced today (Monday) that it submitted a site plan application to Arlington County to build about 1,000 new housing units along S. Joyce Street. The units will be in two, six-story apartment buildings, as well as traditional townhouses and maisonettes, per the press release, and about 260 of the units will be available for purchase.” (
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