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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (June 19, 2019)

St. Petersburg, Fla. is becoming a hipster hotspot, according to the Dallas Morning News. Forbes offers tips for investing in multifamily properties. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. St. Petersburg, Fla. Goes from Senior Rest Home to Hipster Hangout “‘God’s Waiting Room? Oh, that’s long gone,’ says Greg Stanek, a guide in St. Petersburg, Fla. The city’s tongue-in-cheek nickname dates from the days when it was just another Sunshine State retirement community, one that lost its vibrancy as its elderly population aged. Twenty years ago, there were no restaurants to speak of in downtown St. Pete, Stanek says, and Central Avenue was lined with “dusty old antique shops that never sold anything.” (Dallas Morning News)
  2. Will Fannie and Freddie Get a New Sibling? “After over a decade of stagnation, the race is finally on to release mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from government control and reshape the housing finance system. The devil is, as always, in the details — except that some of the ‘details’ aren’t so limited in scope. One of the biggest questions in play right now revolves around the question of whether Fannie and Freddie will continue to operate as a duopoly. It’s a question with enormous implications: trillions of dollars of business for industry participants, and access to the American Dream for ordinary households.” (MarketWatch)
  3. Effort to Legalize Marijuana in New York ‘Dead for Now’ “A bill to legalize recreational marijuana for adults won’t be enacted this year in New York, its sponsor said Wednesday. State Sen. Liz Krueger, a Democrat from Manhattan, had been trying to amend her legislation to win support from Democrats representing suburban areas. No bill was filed by midnight on Tuesday, a sign that the legislation wouldn’t be acted on before lawmakers leave the Capitol this week for a summer recess.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  4. Despite Amazon’s Arrival, Leasing and Sales Growth Remain Slow in D.C. “Amazon’s much anticipated East Coast expansion has failed to translate into a resurgence for the D.C. metro area, which is still posting the third-highest office vacancy rate in the nation. On the surface, the retailer’s arrival in National Landing, a newly branded neighborhood encompassing parts of Pentagon City and Crystal City in Arlington and Potomac Yard in Alexandria, Va., appears to be great news for the D.C. office market. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at 2019’s first-quarter (Q1) numbers. At 12.9 percent, the D.C. metro posted the third-highest office vacancy rate in the country among major markets.” (Commercial Observer)
  5. Buying Multifamily Investment Properties? You Need These People on Your Team “If you are buying multifamily real estate, you need to assemble the right team of industry professionals to maximize your investment. Calling in favors and utilizing family friends to satisfy the positions you need is not an ideal tactic for early stage investors entering the multifamily real estate market. Whether it’s a broker, lawyer, lender or property manager, each role can add significantly to your investment, and it's crucial you select the right people for your team. Here is what you should be looking for in each role.” (Forbes)
  6. The 10 Best U.S. Cities for Tech Workers Don’t Include New York or San Francisco “Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and the Council for Community and Economic Research, SmartAsset created a list of The Best American Cities to Work in Tech in 2019. To come up with the results, SmartAsset evaluated 172 cities on five factors: average salary, the cost of living compared to national average, the percentage of workforce in tech, the unemployment rate for residents with a bachelor’s degree and the ratio of average pay to tech pay in the city.” (CNBC)
  7. 3 of 4 Californians Want to Restrict Housing in Wildfire-Prone Areas, Study Says “Three quarters of California voters believe the state should restrain home building in areas at high risk of wildfires, a new survey has found. The UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies Poll, prepared for the Times, shows bipartisan support for such restrictions after deadly fires wiped out tens of thousands of homes across the state in the last two years. ‘The voters think there should be limits,’ said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Berkeley IGS Poll.” (Los Angeles Times)
  8. What It Means When Real Estate Firms Declare Themselves Technology Companies “More and more real estate firms are pulling away from focusing on home transactions and instead turning their eyes toward data collection. The new catchphrase in the industry is, ‘We are not a real estate company; we are a tech company,’ when responding to questions about the identity of a brokerage. This past year I've seen more and more firms declaring this about themselves, and it makes me wonder: Are agents and clients fully aware of what it means for real estate brokerages to declare themselves tech companies?” (Forbes)
  9. Iconic NYC Costume and Beauty Store Ricky’s Is on its Last Legs “Dry your eyes, drag queens and club crawlers: Ricky’s will soon be down to its last pair of stores — and they may not last long. The New York beauty supplies retailer — a longtime destination for pink wigs, sex toys, Halloween costumes and exotic shampoos from Japan — will have shuttered all but two of its locations by summer’s end, The Post has learned. The last two stores, located at 830 Broadway near Union Square and 590 Broadway in Soho, appear to have at least eight years on their leases, according to property records.” (New York Post)
  10. As Bay Area Housing Crisis Worsens, Companies from Google to Wells Fargo ($1 Billion Each) Step Up “Wells Fargo. Kaiser Permanente. Salesforce’s Marc Benioff. Now Google. One by one, the corporate titans of the Bay Area are vowing to plow dollars into solving the region’s biggest crisis — housing. It’s a sign of just how serious the problem has become, for employees who need a place to live and also for the region’s major companies, which are under fire from their communities because their workers are displacing longtime residents.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
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