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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (March 6, 2019)

The Wall Street Journal looks at WeWork CEO’s Adam Neumann investment diversification strategy. Ben Carson said he will likely leave his HUD position after President Trump’s first term, reports the Intelligencer. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Surfing, School and Jets: WeWork’s Bets Follow CEO Adam Newmann’s Passions “WeWork Cos. chief Adam Neumann, an avid surfer, took the company jet to Hawaii over the December holidays and hit the waves with a surfing legend he admires, Laird Hamilton. Mr. Neumann’s office-space giant had weeks earlier struck a deal with Mr. Hamilton, and announced in January that it led a $32 million investment in the pro surfer’s natural-foods business, Laird Superfood.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Trump Organization’s Insurance Policies Under Scrutiny in New York “New York State regulators have issued an expansive subpoena to the Trump Organization’s longtime insurance broker, the first step in an investigation of insurance policies and claims involving President Trump’s family business, according to a person briefed on the matter. The subpoena was served late Monday on the company, Aon, one of the largest insurance brokerage firms in the world, as part of an inquiry by the New York State Department of Financial Services.” (The New York Times)
  3. Ben Carson Is ‘Likely’ to Leave Hud After Trump’s First Term “In an interview with the conservative outlet Newsmax TV on Monday, Ben Carson announced that he will ‘likely’ leave his role as secretary of Housing and Urban Development after Trump’s first term. ‘I will certainly finish out this term,’ Carson said in the interview. ‘I would be interested in returning to the private sector because I think you have just as much influence, maybe more, there.’ It appears that leading the agency responsible for the 2 million residents living in public housing, and another 4.7 million living in Section 8, isn’t enough influence for the pediatric neurosurgeon and 2016 presidential candidate.” (Intelligencer)
  4. Hit the Gym, Then Shop? Kohl’s Links Up with Planet Fitness “Some shrunken Kohl's stores are getting a new neighbor: Planet Fitness gyms. Kohl's, which is on a mission to shrink its biggest department stores, said it will lease or sell the newly empty space at 10 locations to Planet Fitness, but may increase that number in the future. The new neighbor won't share doors with Kohl's, but it hopes that those who frequent Planet Fitness will also stop at Kohl's to buy fitness trackers, workout tights or sneakers. The companies plan to promote each other to their customers.” (Chicago Tribune)
  5. A New Luxury Retreat Caters to Elderly Workers in Tech (Ages 30 and Up) “At a luxury resort in Baja California Sur, everyone was recovering from a long day sharing how hard it felt to be getting older. ome of the participants walked pensively along the Pacific Coast at sunset. Others read from the resort bookshelf, choosing from sections labeled: ‘What can death teach me about life?’ and ‘What are the unexpected pleasures of aging?’ The next day, the group would place stickers with ageist slurs all over their chests, arms and faces, and then hurl the stickers into a fire.” (The New York Times)
  6. JPMorgan Backs Away from Private Prison Finance “JPMorgan Chase & Co has decided to stop financing private operators of prisons and detention centers, which have become targets of protests over Trump administration immigration policies. ‘We will no longer bank the private prison industry,’ a company spokesman told Reuters. The decision is a result of the bank’s ongoing evaluations of the costs and benefits of serving different industries, he said.” (Reuters)
  7. Vacant Storefronts Find New Life as Space for Recitals, Banquets and Pet Parties “Last fall, New York City pianist Evan Shinners had an inspiration. Why not use one of the city’s many vacant storefronts as a very public practice space? After a brief search, he signed a short-term lease on a former bank space in Midtown and installed a concert grand. For 37 days straight, he practiced Bach all afternoon before a growing stream of regulars, and hosted evening performances with fellow musicians. The final night, he performed Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier until 2 a.m. before a crowd that showered him with wine, flowers, chocolates and thank you notes.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  8. Company Offers New Way to Buy into the Real Estate Game “An enterprising woman is investing in properties with the goal of creating a publicly traded REIT. For now, Janine Yorio, chief executive officer of Compound, says accredited investors can plunk down as little as $2,500 to buy into the current pre-IPO Compound Manhattan Residential ReTF (real estate thematic fund). ‘New York City is a tremendous opportunity that is shut off to [small] investment,’ says Yorio, a former NorthStar executive.” (New York Post)
  9. How Modular Fits into the Future of Real Estate Construction “Real estate and construction are two industries that have intersected for generations. There has always been an inexorable link between the two, and there always will be. Regardless of whether a broker or real estate firm has any intimate knowledge about construction, my recommendation is that they have at a minimum a basic knowledge of the latest industry trends. Even the most rudimentary awareness of current trends in construction will inevitably enhance any real estate broker’s ability to effectively serve the full range of their clients’ needs.” (Forbes)
  10. Lincoln Yards to Double Affordable Housing—to 600 Units—in Bid to Win City Approval “The $6 billion Lincoln Yards megadevelopment will include 600 affordable housing units — twice as many as required — in a compromise by Sterling Bay as it seeks to gain approval for the sweeping project to remake more than 50 acres along the Chicago River on the city’s North Side. It will be the largest on-site commitment in the 16-year history of Chicago’s affordable requirements ordinance, according to Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd. Hopkins will join the Chicago developer and affordable housing advocates to announce the revised plan in a news conference Tuesday morning at City Hall.” (Chicago Tribune)
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