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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (March 21, 2019)

Trump’s tax reform is affecting wealthy New York suburbs, reports Bloomberg. Google is eyeing potentially opening offices in New York’s outer boroughs, including Brooklyn and Queens, according to the Commercial Property Executive. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Could New York City Get Real Casinos? State Leaders Are Listening “With New York’s upstate casinos struggling, some state officials are considering the once unthinkable: putting casinos in New York City itself. Representatives from major gaming companies have been meeting this week with lawmakers in Albany, including the Assembly speaker, Carl E. Heastie, to push a proposal to open as many as three full-fledged casinos in the New York City area.” (The New York Times)
  2. Trump Tax Reform Hits Home in Wealthy New York Suburbs “Nick Boniakowski’s clients bought a home in Northern New Jersey in 2016. Now they want to move again.  They found a house they liked. It wasn’t the charm of new construction, an upgrade in location, better schools or a swimming pool that attracted them. It was the lower property taxes. Like many of Boniakowski’s clients at Redfin Corp.’s Hoboken office, these two are looking at their returns for the first time since President Donald Trump’s tax changes took effect and, despite more than a year of lead time, experienced a mild freakout. Maybe buying a new house –- the rare financial ordeal that’s more maddening than the annual April 15 ritual –- could be the solution.” (Bloomberg)
  3. Want to Profit from the Housing Shortage? There’s a New ETF for That “The rent is too damn high and there aren’t any houses to buy, but all is not lost. Thanks to a new exchange-traded fund, investors may soon be able to profit from the housing shortage crisis. HOMZ, which will trade on the New York Stock Exchange starting Wednesday, tracks an index created by its parent company, Hoya Capital. The index is “designed to be the new barometer for the U.S. Housing Sector,” Hoya says in its promotional materials.” (MarketWatch)
  4. Full Speed Ahead for Amazon HQ2 in Northern Virginia “All government incentives and investment packages for Amazon’s HQ2 project at JBG Smith’s National Landing assets in Northern Virginia, have been approved. Back in November, Amazon selected JBG Smith as partner to house and develop its new headquarters location at National Landing. Amazon is expected to lease 537,000 square feet of existing office space, starting at 241 18th St. and 1800 S. Bell this year. Following that will be 1770 Crystal Drive in 2020. The Arlington County Board approved the agreement, which will provide Amazon with up to $23 million over 15 years if the company creates at least 25,000 jobs and occupies 6 million square feet of office space in the county by 2035.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  5. Google Has Big Plans for NYC “Amazon may have said farewell to Queens, but Google is saying maybe. Paul Darrah, director of real estate for the tech giant, spoke at a luncheon hosted by the Real Estate Board of New York on March 19th in New York City, where he discussed Google’s vision for its Chelsea campus and its upcoming Hudson Square campus, real estate challenges on a national level and where commercial real estate tech needs to catch up. (Commercial Property Executive)
  6. Freddie Mac Names Brickman to Succeed Layton as CEO “Freddie Mac on Thursday said Donald Layton will retire as chief executive on July 1 and will be succeeded by its current president, David Brickman. Mr. Brickman, who will become the fourth CEO of the mortgage-finance giant since the government took over the company a decade ago, will also join the board. Freddie Mac signaled the move in September when it announced Mr. Layton’s plans to retire and elevated Mr. Brickman to the president post.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  7. Foreign Investment: Down but Not Out “Most of what you read about foreign investment in the New York City sales market makes it seem like foreign investors are currently non-existent. However, foreign investment in New York’s commercial real estate market continues to thrive. While it is true that the 2018 total pales in comparison to      the three prior years, the aggregate amount of investment by overseas investors in our local real estate market was still very impressive by historical standards.” (Commercial Observer)
  8. Negotiation Tactics From Some of the Best Real Estate Masterminds in the Business “A forthcoming book, Real Estate Titans: 7 Key Lessons from the World's Top Real Estate Investors by Erez Cohen, has 11 in-depth interviews with some of the most successful real estate investors across the entire spectrum of the market. I spoke with Cohen by phone to learn some of the negotiation secrets that he gleaned from his interviews.” (Forbes)
  9. How Luxury Apartment Developers Are Planning for HQ2 “Amazon’s HQ2 is coming—and bringing with it more luxury apartments. Already about 5,300 residential units are planned or under construction in National Landing, the rebranded area that includes parts of Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Potomac Yard. To accommodate the 25,000 Amazon employees expected to work there, builders are dreaming of ways of adding glitz to the NoVa skyline via the architectural equivalent of Prime Two-Day Shipping.” (Washingtonian)
  10. San Francisco Could Ban Amazon’s Cashier-Free Stores “San Francisco is considering a ban on cashless Amazon stores as it weighs a bill that would make it one of a growing list of cities forbidding cashless retailers. Just this week, New Jersey followed Philadelphia's lead in signing into law a cashless store ban. Lawmakers argue that cashless stores can effectively discriminate against low-income consumers, who may not have a bank account or credit card. But businesses say going cashless is good for consumers and reduces the risk of robbery and the ability to evade taxes.” (CNBC)
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