10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (June 27, 2017)

Los Angeles’ new tallest building makes its debut, reports Los Angeles Times. Federal investigators are looking into a real estate deal put together by Jane Sanders, Bernie Sanders’ wife, according to the Associated Press. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. The Cities Creating the Most High-Wage Jobs “We decided to take a look at which metropolitan areas are gaining the most professional and business services jobs and the trends that are driving some to pull ahead while others fade. Our rankings look at employment in the sector over time— assessing short, medium and long-term job trends and adding in variables for persistence and momentum as well.” (Forbes)
  2. A New Skyscraper for Los Angeles: Wilshire Grand Makes its Debut “Eight years ago, architect David Martin's vision for Wilshire Grand Center was little more than a daydream in a sketchbook. Over time, that dream gave way to a 73-story skyscraper, the tallest building west of the Mississippi, and an impressive new addition to the Los Angeles skyline. Expectations for the building are high. Undoubtedly a new downtown landmark, the tower must find its place within the architecture of the city.” (Los Angeles Times)
  3. High-Profile Deals Disguising Commercial Real Estate Market’s Anxiety “Manhattan’s office market could be headed for trouble despite today’s solid-seeming condition and euphoria over big chunks of space being gobbled up by marquee tenants at glamorous new towers. Commercial brokers with the jitters didn’t want their names used, but one we spoke to worried about a ‘lack of depth’ to the market beyond a handful of large-scale negotiations now going on.” (New York Post)
  4. A New Real Estate Play for Income Investors “Risk-averse investors looking for income will soon have a new option to consider: ground leases. iStar Inc., a New York-based real-estate investment, financing and development firm, has spun off some of its ground leases into a separate real-estate investment trust called Safety, Income and Growth Inc. that is expected to raise $250 million from an initial public offering and concurrent private placement.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  5. Feds Looking into Bernie Sanders’ Wife Over Real Estate Deal “Federal investigators are looking into the finances behind a real estate deal for a now-defunct college put together by the wife of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, and she has hired a lawyer to look after her interests, a family spokesman confirmed on Monday. The complaint against Jane Sanders was filed in early 2016 by attorney Brady Toensing, who served as the Vermont campaign chairman for Donald Trump during his run for president as a Republican. In a separate complaint, Toensing alleged that Bernie Sanders’ senatorial office pressured a bank to approve the loan.” (Associated Press)
  6. Here’s When and Where Lidl’s Next U.S. Grocery Stores Will Open “On July 13, Lidl will open new stores in Chesapeake, Virginia; Culpeper, Virginia; Havelock, North Carolina, and Wake Forest, North Carolina. The grocer also announced on Monday plans to open its fourth regional headquarters and distribution center, in Cartersville, Georgia. Lidl operates more than 10,000 grocery stores in 28 countries. The chain now poses a threat to U.S.-based grocers such as Kroger, Ingles and even Target, as well as a discount chain such as Aldi, because of Lidl's ‘lowest possible prices’ promise.” (CNBC)
  7. Downtown Dallas Landmark Projects Asking for More Time to Finish Construction “Developers of downtown Dallas' two largest building redos are asking for more time to get the projects done. The companies renovating the historic Statler Hotel on Commerce Street and the former First National Bank tower on Elm Street are asking downtown's tax increment finance district for another year to finish all construction on the projects. Work on the 61-year-old Statler Hotel was supposed to be complete by October under original terms of the tax increment financing grant agreement with the city that was approved in 2014.” (Dallas News)
  8. Claire’s is a ‘Complete Train Wreck’ “After nearly six decades in American malls, Claire’s is facing an uphill battle to stay afloat. The retailer — which says it has pierced 94 million ears, more than any other company — has reported 11 consecutive quarters of declining sales and racked up more than $2 billion in debt, prompting speculation among analysts that it could be among the next to face big trouble.” (Washington Post)
  9. Real Estate Firms Calls Houston Valuations ‘Spotty and Uneven’ in 2016 “The commercial real estate market is boosting some property values while deflating others. Houston-based real estate valuation firm Deal Sikes and Associates reported Monday that varying conditions across the city's submarkets and property types have created uneven changes in commercial property value over the last year. The firm said 57 percent of commercial properties recently received notifications of value increases, 18 percent received decreases and 25 percent were unchanged.” (Chron)
  10. Amazon Could Easily Own Whole Foods, Rite Aid and Express Scripts, This Top Analyst Says “ Inc. may be plenty busy working to complete, and then digest, its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market, but anyone who has followed the company knows that it has ambitions to enter all facets of retail, and frankly all facets of people's lives. With recent reports that the company its looking to break into the pharmacy space and uncertainty swirling around the merger of Walgreens Boot Alliance Inc. and Rite Aid Corp., one Wall Street firm suggests that Rite Aid, or even a pharmacy benefit manager could be next in the company's crosshairs.” (The Street)
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