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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (March 16, 2018)

Steve Wynn might sell his stake in Wynn Resorts, reports Reuters. The New York Times looks at private equity’s record with retailer buyouts. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Mueller Subpoenas Trump Organization, Demanding Documents About Russia “The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization in recent weeks to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, according to two people briefed on the matter. The order is the first known instance of the special counsel demanding records directly related to President Trump’s businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president.” (The New York Times)
  2. Casino Mogul Steve Wynn May Sell His Stake in Wynn ResortsWynn Resorts' former chief executive, Steve Wynn, may elect to sell all or a portion of his stake in the company, according to a regulatory filing dated Thursday. Steve Wynn is the largest shareholder in the company, owning about 11.8 percent of the casino operator followed by his former wife who has a 9.3 percent stake, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon data. Under an agreement with Wynn Resorts, the former CEO could not sell more than one-third of the shares he held in the company.” (Reuters)
  3. Toys ‘R’ Us Case Is Test of Private Equity in Age of Amazon “The mood in the courtroom was hopeful when Toys “R” Us filed for bankruptcy last September. The company’s lawyer, in the first hearing, played a clip of the retailer’s famous jingle “I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid” and vowed to restore the company’s place in the hearts of millions of American families. The reality is that Toys “R” Us, which announced on Thursday that it would shutter or sell all of its stores in the United States, never had much chance at a turnaround.” (The New York Times)
  4. Three Reasons Commercial Real Estate Professionals Should Be More Open to Tech “The real estate industry isn’t exactly known for being receptive to new technology. Many in the industry view technology as unnecessary, as countless people have built real estate empires and made untold millions from hammering the phones. Today, though, it’s getting harder and harder to compete in real estate without technology. In particular, there are three distinct advantages of technology that should have real estate professionals more open to adopting new developments.” (Forbes)
  5. Winn-Dixie Is Closing Almost 100 Stores as Part of its Bankruptcy Filing—See if Your Store Is on the List “Almost 100 Winn-Dixie, Harveys, and Bi-Lo locations are closing in the Southeast as the regional grocery chains' parent company prepares to file for bankruptcy.
  6. On Thursday, the parent company, Southeastern Grocers, announced it would ‘voluntarily implement a court-supervised, prepackaged restructuring agreement.’ The company plans to file for bankruptcy by the end of March. As part of the restructuring, the company is closing 94 grocery stores. That represents about 16% of Southeastern Grocers' store count, with 582 locations remaining.” (Business Insider)
  7. Is Cold Storage Heating Up? “A new report by CBRE, entitled, “Cold Storage: About to heat up?” said an increase in online grocery sales will likely result in an increased demand of as much as 35 million square feet of U.S. cold-storage space shifting from retail stores to warehouses and distribution centers within the next seven years, according to a new report from CBRE.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  8. Bay Area Rents on the Rise Again After ‘Cooling Off Period,’ Real Estate Data Firm Reports “In a trend likely to fuel an already supercharged fight over rent control in California, landlords in San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland began raising asking prices again last spring and continued to increase rents in lease renewals for existing tenants. Monthly lease transaction data show “improved momentum” for apartment operators and investors, according to the report, echoing predictions of an upswing last month by the real estate data firm Yardi Matrix.” (Mercury News)
  9. Global Property Investors to Increase Commercial Purchase Activities in 2018 “CBRE's 2018 survey reveals that the balance between those investors planning to spend more on commercial real estate over those planning to spend less is 33%-up from 24% last year and reversing a three-year trend in the other direction. The balance of investors planning to sell more real estate over those planning to sell less rose to 27% from 15% in 2017, signaling a potential increase in market liquidity.” (World Property Journal)
  10. Hawaii Hotel Fetches $200M “As part of its portfolio transformation, Xenia Hotels & Resorts Inc. has let go of the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, a premier property in Honolulu on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The lodging REIT sold the leasehold interest in the 693-key hotel in a $200 million transaction with an unidentified buyer. The change in ownership of the Aston Waikiki comes four years after Xenia—then a subsidiary of Inland American Lodging Group Inc.—acquired the Hawaii hotel for $183 million. It’s an asset that’s hard to ignore.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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