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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (July 26, 2019)

Amazon may strike a lease for office space at the former Lord & Taylor flagship in New York, reports the Wall Street Journal. MarketWatch looks at where 2020 presidential candidates stand on affordable housing. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Amazon’s New York Office Hunt Includes WeWork-Owned Lord & Taylor Building “Amazon.com Inc. is scouring New York City for new office space, including the historic building that formerly housed Lord & Taylor’s flagship store, according to people familiar with the matter. Months after abandoning plans to build a giant campus in New York City, the e-commerce company has held talks with WeWork Cos. to lease as much as the entire 12-story building—big enough to fit several thousand employees, these people said. A deal for the e-commerce giant to occupy the iconic retail space would be symbolic.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Here’s Where the 2020 Presidential Candidates, Including Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, Stand on Affordable Housing “Housing may not play a major role once the Democratic nominee starts campaigning directly against President Trump. But in the lead-up to the Democratic primaries it is an issue that most candidates are eager to discuss. Multiple candidates, including Senators Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, have released detailed plans showcasing how they would tackle the trouble many Americans face when looking to find a home to rent or to buy.” (MarketWatch)
  3. Williamsburg Is Getting its First Weed Dispensary “It’s high time for Williamsburg to be getting its first pot shop, and they have Remedy to thank for it. The weed dispensary, managed by Valley Agriceuticals, is opening its first New York City location at the base of the Pod Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, according to information from Katz & Associates, which brokered the deal. The medical marijuana company signed a 10-year lease for 3,800 square feet at 178 North 4th Street, at the corner of Driggs Street.” (Commercial Observer)
  4. Hotel and Office Proposal Adds to Fulton Market Frenzy “A Chicago developer wants to build a 19-story hotel and office building on the eastern edge of the Fulton Market District, the latest big proposal for the fast-changing neighborhood. Adding to a string of recent plans for commercial buildings that would drastically change the physical character of the former meatpacking district, a venture of Chicago-based North Park Ventures proposes a glassy, 228,000-square-foot structure along the 800 block of Lake Street, according to a zoning application filed yesterday with the city.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
  5. Vultures Start Circling Another South Jersey Mall “The vultures are circling the doors of another South Jersey mall, but residents and officials in Hamilton Township, Atlantic County, have some guidance to avoid the stress that the same fire-sale takeover artists brought to another ‘mall town’ in Camden County. Aside from the negative tax impact that the reported purchase of the Hamilton Mall for half its previous value will have, the buyer’s identity is more bad news: Namdar Realty Group, the same outfit that accelerated the continuing decline of the Voorhees Town Center.” (nj.com)
  6. 5 Ways to Invest in Real Estate If You’re Not Reach “Real estate remains one of the most popular assets for U.S. investors. But most have a hard time buying because of the upfront dollars involved. ETFs can be the next best thing for small-time investors looking for real-estate exposure: Sure, those investors can always buy Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, that allow anyone with a brokerage account and as little as a hundred bucks the ability to play different real-estate segments.” (MarketWatch)
  7. JC Penney Is Trying New Things to Stay Afloat. But its Stock Is Below $1 Again, and at Risk of Being Delisted “J.C. Penney CEO Jill Soltau is doing what she can to keep the 117-year-old department store chain afloat, even as the retailer’s shares trade below $1 and are at risk of being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. The stock fell below $1 on July 19 following a report that Penney had hired advisers to explore debt restructuring options and has been trading under a buck ever since. Penney responded to the report by saying it “routinely hire[s] external advisors to evaluate opportunities” and that it wasn’t preparing for an in-court restructuring or bankruptcy in doing so.” (CNBC)
  8. How to Retire Early Through Real Estate Investing “Real estate investment can be a tricky business, but when it’s done right, it can be rewarding for you and your retirement account. Whether you are thinking of investing in real estate or you already have a few properties under your belt, with the right steps, it is possible for you to build a successful early retirement fund. Of course, this sort of goal doesn’t happen overnight.” (Forbes)
  9. Tech Continues to Make Silicon Valley a Top Commercial Growth Market “According to new research by commercial real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield, tech activity is still driving Silicon Valley's commercial property markets, as the region remains one of the top U.S. markets in 2019. Silicon Valley's R&D vacancy rate decreased significantly to 9.1% during the second quarter of 2019, down from 9.8% in the first quarter. After a negative growth start to the year, net absorption surged with 1.2 msf in the second quarter, bringing mid-year 2019 growth to 917,000 sf.” (World Property Journal)
  10. Balancing Access, Risk in Today’s Flush Debt Market “The commercial real estate lending market is as robust and competitive as it has ever been. Armed with lessons learned, traditional lenders are out in force. Meanwhile, there are newcomers that see debt investment as a safe haven in an otherwise uncertain economy. But since no one knows when the post-recession after-party will end, borrowers must exercise caution and next-level skills to evaluate the variety of options available today.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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