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ten must reads Ben Carson

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (March 3, 2017)


  1. Ben Carson, outsider with no government experience, confirmed to lead HUD “Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson was confirmed Thursday as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, bringing into President Trump’s Cabinet a Washington outsider with no prior government experience and a staunchly conservative view of public assistance. Support for Carson’s confirmation came down largely along party lines — 58-41 — highlighting the intense partisan and ideological conflicts in Washington and around Trump’s agenda. Carson, an acclaimed neurosurgeon, ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 against Trump and endorsed the celebrity real estate developer shortly after ending his unsuccessful bid. The secretary has indicated that, now that he is confirmed, he will embark on a ‘listening tour’ to learn from career HUD employees and public servants across the country. He and his allies have expressed dismay at his delayed confirmation, which was initially expected to pass through the Senate in early February.” (The Washington Post)
  2. Meijer to spend $375M on new stores, remodels in 2017 “Meijer plans to invest more than $375 million in new and remodeled stores this year across six states, the Midwest retailer announced Thursday, March 2. The investment will include seven new stores and remodeling of 22 stores. The new stores will be built in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. The new locations are expected to create about 2,100 new jobs. ‘These projects represent an investment in our customers, team members and the local communities that have supported us so long,’ said Meijer CEO Rick Keyes, in a statement. This year, Meijer will finally open stores in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The two stores -- the only new locations in Michigan in 2017 -- will be in Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie. Two stores are planned for Indiana in the communities of McCordsville and Franklin. Three stores opening this year in Wisconsin, Meijer's newest market, in Greenfield, West Bend and the Green Bay suburb of Howard. By year's end, the chain will grow to 237 stores.” (Michigan Live)
  3. New York investor buys second North Dallas office project “A New York real estate investor has added to its North Texas holdings with the purchase of a North Dallas office complex. Ascent Real Estate Advisors LLC. bought the Meadow Central office campus near Meadow Road and U.S. Highway 75. The 179,184 square foot office complex is just blocks away from Ascent Real Estate's Rambler Park office tower near Meadow and Rambler roads. The investor bought the 14-story Rambler Park tower last year in a partnership. Sunwest Real Estate Group and Libitzky Property Cos. sold the two Meadow Central buildings, which they had owned since 2010.” (Dallas Morning News)
  4. Waldorf Astoria hotel closing for transformative makeover “The word 'grand' matched few hotels in the world better than New York City's Waldorf Astoria, but this bastion of gilded splendor is now closing for two to three years for a transformative makeover. The last guests were checking out by noon Wednesday after enjoying the rich Art Deco style of the old Waldorf one last time. When the building reopens, it will still have a hotel, but hundreds of its 1,400 guest rooms will have been converted into privately owned condominiums, according to a spokesman for the Anbang Insurance Group, the Chinese company that bought the storied hotel for nearly $2 billion in 2015. The exterior is protected by law as a New York City landmark, but some fans are still nervous about the future.” (The Associated Press)
  5. Abercrombie & Fitch CEO: This Is What Mass Store Closures Across America's Malls Mean for Us “Even after a challenging holiday season, there are glimmers of hope for Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF). On Thursday, Abercrombie reported fourth-quarter earnings of 71 cents a share on $1.04 billion in revenue, lower than estimates for earnings of 75 cents a share on $1.05 billion, according to analysts surveyed at Factset. For the full year, Abercrombie reported a net loss of 6 cents a share, steeper than the loss of 4 cents a share Wall Street was looking for and revenue of $3.3 billion, in line with expectations. The company's same-store sales fell 6% in the U.S. for the fourth quarter versus estimates for a 3.5% slip. But there were two positive callouts that may have Wall Street cautiously optimistic on the year ahead.” (The Street)
  6. The new owners of CocoWalk have a plan. And it’s not all about shopping “After nearly 30 years without any new office buildings in Coconut Grove, the area is now slated to get two new projects as part of the neighborhood’s revitalization. The team behind the redevelopment of CocoWalk, a dining and entertainment complex in the center of the Grove’s commerical area, plans to build 73,000 square feet of Class A office space on the property’s east side. The complex is located at the intersection of Main Highway, McFarlane Road and Grand Avenue. The new five-story building will include retail on the first floor and office space on the remaining four stories. It will include about 250 parking spaces underground and a rooftop entertainment terrace.” (Miami Herald)
  7. Equus Nabs 106 KSF Silicon Valley Office Portfolio “Equus Capital Partners Ltd. recently announced that an affiliate acquired Walsh Bowers, a two-building Class-B office/R&D portfolio totaling 106,500 square-feet. The company purchased the asset from Swift Real Estate Partners for $32 million in a transaction in which Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller. The acquisition was made on behalf of Equus Investment Partnership X LP, a $361 million discretionary equity fund managed by Equus. Located at 2400 Walsh Ave., Walsh Bowers is less than 1 mile from Silicon Valley’s ‘Golden Triangle,’ bordered by Highway 101, Interstate 880 and California State Route 237. The property is also approximately 5 miles from the Mineta San Jose International Airport and close to executive housing and amenities, including the Santa Clara Convention Center, Levi’s Stadium, restaurants and hotels. Walsh Bowers is comprised of two individually subdivided parcels totaling 6.3 acres. The buildings were built in 1975 and 1980, respectively, and were 100 percent leased at the time of acquisition. According to Yardi Matrix data, the property is part of a larger site that encompasses 251,061 square feet of rentable office space in five buildings.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  8. Economy Watch: Construction Spending Dips in January “U.S. construction spending during January came in at an annualized rate of $1,180.3 billion, or 1 percent below the December rate, according to the Census Bureau on Wednesday. However, the most recent January figure is nevertheless 3.1 percent above the January 2016 rate. The monthly drop was entirely because of a slacking off in public construction. Spending on private construction in January was 0.2 percent above the revised December estimate, the bureau noted. By contrast, public construction spending was down 5 percent for the month. Total residential construction spending eked out a 0.3 percent gain for the month, but was still up 5.5 percent for the year. Nonresidential construction spending, on the other hand, dropped 1.9 percent in January compared with December. Year-over-year, nonresidential construction spending gained 1.5 percent.” (MultiHousing News)
  9. The mortgage market is now dominated by non-bank lenders “The withdrawal of banks from the mortgage business is the result of the fundamental shift in regulations that took place in response to the housing crisis, says Meg Burns, managing director of the Collingwood Group, an adviser for financial services companies in Washington. “The regulatory atmosphere changed from a risk-management regime to a zero-tolerance and 100-percent-compliance regime,” Burns says. “Not only were new regulations implemented, but new regulators like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau were created. At the same time, the CFPB and other agencies became more assertive in their enforcement practices.” Burns says that stepped-up regulations from the CFPB include prescriptive rules that pinpoint exactly how lenders are to make loan decisions. ‘The intent should be to broadly make sure borrowers can repay their loans and sustain homeownership instead of this narrow approach,’ Burns says. ‘In the face of stiff penalties and aggressive scrutiny, banks were left with a tremendous uncertainty and risk that made it hard to keep lending.’” (Washington Post)
  10. German investor takes a hit in Highland Park property sale “Renaissance Place, a big mixed-use property in downtown Highland Park, has sold for about $33 million, generating a big loss for the German investor that bought it more than a decade ago. A venture of Metzler Real Estate sold the retail-office-apartment complex to affiliates of Tabani Group, a Dallas-based shopping center investor that also owns the Glen Town Center in Glenview, according to Lake County property records. Built in 2000, the 221,000-square-foot Highland Park property includes a two-story, 48,000-square-foot retail space that Saks Fifth Avenue vacated in 2012—one reason the complex fetched such a low price. Seattle-based Metzler, the North American unit of German bank Bankhaus Metzler, sold Renaissance Place for just $32.7 million, about 38 percent less than the $53.1 million it paid for the property in December 2006, county records show. The price is also less than the roughly $42 million in debt that Metzler carried on the property, a loan it took out in 2006 from another Metzler unit. County records show Metzler paid off the debt after selling the property to Tabani. Tabani and Metzler representatives did not return phone calls.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
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