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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (March 1, 2019)

The New York Times looks at women executives in commercial real estate. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been in contact with Amazon executives to try and convince them to rethink their decision on HQ2, reports MarketWatch. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. What Pension Funds Need to Know About Commercial Real Estate “I was recently at a dinner party where I had the opportunity to talk with a New York City teacher, who kept pretty good tabs on her pension fund’s performance. She was worried about if, when the time came, there would be enough to fund her retirement and asked me point blank, ‘Where should we be investing?’ Without hesitation I said, ‘Commercial real estate.’ Historically, in order to protect assets, pension funds would invest in safer, low-risk products.” (Forbes)
  2. Thousands Evacuated in Northern California Flooding “Catastrophic flooding in Northern California left thousands of people evacuated, hundreds of homes underwater and the town of Guerneville in Sonoma County a veritable island. California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday declared states of emergency for five counties—Amador, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma—to help those jurisdictions ‘respond to and recover from dangerous flooding, mudslides and damage to critical infrastructure.’” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  3. The Boss? You’re Looking at Her: 7 Women in the Building Business “It is no longer exactly groundbreaking for women to work on construction sites, to develop or design retail and commercial spaces, or to fill those spaces with tenants. Women, for example, occupy 43 percent of commercial real estate positions industrywide, according to data from CREW Network, a networking organization for women in commercial real estate. And more women than ever now fill senior vice president, managing director and partner slots in commercial real estate businesses.” (The New York Times)
  4. How A.I. Is Making Supermarkets Less Exhausting “It’s been years since technology began helping urbanites avoid the teeming aisles and whimsical ‘organization’ of grocery stores. Despite the advent of FreshDirect and Instacart, however, I still make dreaded milk-and-juice runs now and then. The good news: A.I. is turning in-store experiences into equally seamless transactions—no lines or registers, no ‘chip malfunction,’ no wait.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  5. Cuomo Urges Amazon to Rethink its Decision to Ditch New York Expansion “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that he has been in contact with Amazon.com Inc. executives, urging them to rethink their decision to abandon plans for a headquarters campus in Queens. Cuomo, a Democrat, told reporters on Long Island that there is no sign yet that the tech company has changed its mind. A person familiar with the matter said Cuomo spoke with Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos after the company abruptly told state officials it was scuttling the new development on Feb. 14.” (MarketWatch)
  6. Gap, Victoria’s Secret and Even Tesla: 4,300 Store Closures Already Announced This Year “A recent wave of store closure announcements will hit shopping malls across the U.S., leaving hundreds of storefronts empty. Just this week, Victoria's Secret said it will shut around 50 locations in 2019 — when it normally closes closer to a dozen each year; Gap said it's closing 230 of its namesake brand's stores over a two-year span; and J.C. Penney announced it plans to shut 18 department stores and nine of its furniture and home locations in 2019.” (CNBC)
  7. Hot ETF Play of 2019 Is Betting on Home Loans “Mortgages are suddenly hot with investors. An iShares exchange-traded fund that invests in mortgage-backed securities has raised $3.1 billion since the start of 2019, making it the third-most popular ETF so far this year, according to FactSet. Reasons for the surge in popularity: stock market mayhem and the Federal Reserve. Market turbulence in late 2018 sent skittish investors in search of safety.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  8. Now Salesforce Tower Has Cracked Windows—But They’re on the Inside “Cracked windows have been discovered at another San Francisco high-rise. And this time, it’s the big one — Salesforce Tower. San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection confirmed that the two windows — one facing south at the 12th floor and another facing east at the 14th floor — have cracked. The reasons are unknown. The cracks are on the interior panes of double-paned windows, said Helen Han, a spokeswoman for Boston Properties, which owns Salesforce Tower, so ‘there was never any danger of glass falling to the street.’” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  9. Uptown Dallas Developers Gear Up for the Next Round of Office Building “With Uptown Dallas' two newest office towers filling up, developers are already working on new projects in the area just north of downtown. But rising construction costs and tightening finance requirements could make it harder to start more speculative office projects Uptown. The new 22-story Union office tower at Cedar Springs Road and Field Street is 90 percent leased. And the 20-story Park District office high-rise at Pearl and Woodall Rodgers Freeway is three-quarters full, too.” (Dallas Morning News)
  10. When a Hip Hotel Developer Does Apartments “The firm behind several fashionable Chicago hotels today unveils the result of its shift to another type of project, apartments, with the opening of a Michigan Avenue tower infused with an emphasis on amenities and nightlife that helps make its hotels popular. Essex on the Park, a 56-story tower that faces Grant Park at 808 S. Michigan Avenue, contains, along with 479 apartments, a soaring ‘winter garden’ room, bar and dance floor, bistro-style restaurant and a pet-grooming suite.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
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