10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (June 6, 2017)

The Trump Organization is launching a new budget-friendly hotel chain called “American Idea,” reports The New York Times. CalSTRS will change the parameters of its core real estate allocation, according to IPE Real Estate. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Schumer Blasts ‘Trump Tolls’ as President Spotlights Infrastructure Plans “Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is ripping President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plans, as the White House kicks off a week-long focus on rebuilding roads, airports and waterways. New York Democrat Schumer said in a statement that the president’s overall infrastructure plan would benefit financiers and stick average citizens with the bill for projects.” (MarketWatch)
  2. Trump Organization to Go Budget Friendly with “American Idea” Hotel Chain “On Monday, the Trump Organization announced plans for a new three-star hotel chain with a patriotic flair, echoing President Trump’s campaign slogan about putting America first and reflecting the organization’s promise to enter into new deals only in the United States. The intention is to differentiate the chain, called American Idea, by featuring artifacts of American culture in the hotels, such as an old Coca-Cola machine in the lobby or American-made sundries in the rooms.” (The New York Times)
  3. CalSTRS to Change Parameters of Core Real Estate Allocation “California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) is planning to change the parameters of its core real estate allocation to include non-stabilised assets. The $207bn (€184bn) pension fund wants to introduce a sub-category to its core real estate portfolio called “transitional core”, according to a board meeting document. Such assets are expected to become core over time as CalSTRS improves them physically or through new leasings. Transitional core can also include forward funding of core developments and strategies that use higher leverage but focus on core assets.” (IPE Real Estate)
  4. Analyst: Walmart Looks Ready to Transition to a ’21st Century Retailer’ “Following Walmart's shareholder meeting on Friday, Cowen analyst Oliver Chen noted that he was impressed with the retailer's strategy for combating Amazon. Walmart is developing strategies to leverage its store footprint (3,534 Supercenters and 698 Neighborhood Markets and 90% of the U.S. population is within 10 miles of a store) and incorporating that with its e-commerce platform, he added.” (The Street)
  5. Is All the Talk of the Death of the Mall Overdone? “Talk of the demise of the shopping mall may be overdone, according to Fitch Ratings, which on Monday took a neutral stance on retail REITS, or real estate investment trusts, the entities that own and manage malls and rent space to tenants. Mall REITs are popular with investors for their attractive dividend yields. But the sector has come under pressure this year amid a wave of closure announcements from department store chains, sporting retailers and teen clothing retailers, among others.” (MarketWatch)
  6. Extell Scores Air Rights to Build New Hard Rock Hotel “Extell has gobbled up some precious air rights as it prepares to build a new Hard Rock Hotel on West 48th Street. Gary Barnett’s insatiable development company has quietly bought 45,000 square feet of unused air rights from the small block-through park adjacent to 1221 Sixth Ave. Both the office building and the park are owned by Rockefeller Group.” (New York Post)
  7. Target Shoots for Retail Comeback and Chicago Area Is On Front Line “Beleaguered retailer Target Corp. is counting on the Chicago area to help trigger its revival and rescue the company. Under attack from giants Amazon and Walmart, Target is fighting back by opening a raft of mini-stores in area neighborhoods. Each is no larger than 40,000 square feet, compared with Target's 175,000-square-foot superstores. By 2018 the chain is expected to have at least 10 mini-stores, about 7 percent of the company's expected 130 small-store network.” (Chicago Tribune)
  8. Florida, Texas Top Foreign Buyers Property Purchase List “Florida and Texas were the top markets on foreign real estate investors shopping lists in 2016. The National Association of Realtors said 20 percent of its commercial real estate members closed a sale last year involving foreign buyers. Florida, Texas and California were the most popular markets for offshore buyers acquiring small properties for either investment or use, the Realtors found in their annual commercial real estate survey.” (Dallas News)
  9. Sovereign Investors Boosting Allocations to Real Estate; Brexit Driving Funds Away “The study of 97 sovereign wealth funds, national pension funds, central banks and government ministries — representing $12 trillion in assets — found allocations to home market real estate rose to 4.7% of assets in 2017, up from 4.4% in 2016 and 2.8% in 2015, while international real estate allocations rose to 3.4% in 2017 from 2.2% in 2016 and 1.2% in 2015.” (Pensions & Investments)
  10. 10 U.S. Cities Where Everyone Wants to Live Right Now “According to new data compiled by, the Texas capital is seeing an influx of newcomers from other cities, and the population is booming, making it the No. 1 most popular place to live in the US right now. If you've been keeping an eye on a number of other top cities lists, it should come as no surprise that so many people want to move to Austin.” (Business Insider)
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