10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (May 19, 2017)

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard has said the Fed’s plan to raise rates twice more is “overly aggressive,” according to Reuters. NPR reports on Donald Trump’s use of tax breaks in building his real estate empire. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.


  1. As Trump Built His Real Estate Empire, Tax Breaks Played A Pivotal Role “For a young Donald Trump in the 1970s, the Grand Hyatt hotel on East 42nd Street was his first major development project, a chance to make a splash in the big-time world of New York City real estate. Yet the glitzy glass-fronted hotel never would have been possible without an almost unprecedented 40-year tax abatement from the city, which was then recovering from a painful fiscal crisis. ‘Essentially, what they did was, they said, 'We'll give you a massive cut in the property taxes you have to pay,’ said Timothy O'Brien, author of TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald. ‘The tax abatement was crucial. It was crucial to the finances of the deal making sense at the time it was struck. It was crucial to the banks who loaned him money to get it done,’ O'Brien adds. ‘So in tandem all of those things were very important. It couldn't have been done without them.’” (NPR)
  2. St. Louis Fed's Bullard says expected rate hikes 'too aggressive' “The Fed's expected plans for rate increases may be too fast for an economy that has shown recent signs of weakness, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Friday, sketching out the case for a continued go-slow approach. Since the Fed raised rates in March inflation data have dipped and so have long-term bond yields, the opposite of what would happen if investors and the public felt the economy was going to continue on a strong enough course to justify further rate hikes. In its most recent set of projections central bank officials said they foresaw raising rates two more times over the course of this year, a pace Bullard said may be ‘overly aggressive relative to actual incoming data on U.S. macroeconomic performance…On balance, the U.S. macroeconomic data have been relatively weak since the March...meeting,’ Bullard said at a breakfast presentation to the Association for Corporate Growth. ‘U.S. inflation and inflation expectations have surprised to the downside in recent months. Labor market improvement has slowed.’” (Reuters) 
  3. Can Real Estate Save Macy's Inc Stock? “This wasn't supposed to happen to Macy's. Shares of the venerable department store chain have fallen by two thirds since hitting their peak nearly two years ago. Profits have steadily declined along with comparable sales. Following its earnings report last week, when adjusted earnings per share fell from $0.40 to $0.24 and comparable sales dropped 4.6%, the stock plunged 17%. However, the venerable retailer's real estate portfolio, including its flagship store in New York's Herald Square, was supposed to act as a bottom to the stock. But even as Macy's has begun selling off some of its real estate, generating hundreds of millions of dollars, investors have mostly ignored the windfall as the chain's core business deteriorates and stores close.” (Motley Fool) 
  4. The micro apartments are coming to Miami. Are you ready for tiny living? “Miami’s rental apartment market is about to get smaller — literally. Micro-units — compact, affordable apartments aimed at young, single professionals who want to live in popular neighborhoods without paying exorbitant rents — are sprouting up in Wynwood, downtown Miami and other desirable areas where prices make it impossible for younger people to buy. Groundbreaking is scheduled to begin in July on Wynwood 25, a $100 million mixed-use project by Miami’s Related Group and the New York-based East End Capital. The 400,000-square-foot development will occupy 2.3 acres and include 289 rental apartments, ranging in size from 400 to 1,200 square feet. By comparison, the average two-car garage is 480 to 625 square feet.” (Miami Herald)
  5. Fort Worth Stockyards developers plan 320-acre business park project “Majestic Realty Co. and Fort Worth-based Hickman Cos., partners in a $175 million redevelopment project in the Historic Stockyards, will also partner in a 320-acre business park in south Fort Worth. The project, to be called Majestic Fort Worth South Business Park, is planned to have more than 6 million square feet of office, industrial and logistics space. The park, to be located off Interstate 35W a couple of miles south of Interstate 20, will be completed in phases, the developers said Wednesday. Nearly three years ago, the Hickman family, longtime investors and owners in the city's Historic Stockyards on the north side, announced plans to partner with Majestic on the Stockyards redevelopment. Work has begun, but not after an arduous public process that laid guidelines and boundaries for development.” (Dallas Morning News) 
  6. CBRE survey: Retail global expansion cools off; U.S. remains the most active “When it comes to expanding globally, the United States is the leader of the pack. That’s according to CBRE Group Inc.’s 10th annual study of international retail expansion, which surveyed 166 cities across 51 countries regarding how many international retailers had debuted in their markets in 2016. The survey found that retailers’ expansion into new markets increased by 2% in 2016, down from 3.1% in CBRE’s 2015 study.  United States retailers were the most active by a wide margin, aided perhaps by the dollar’s strength relative to other currencies. Of all expansion at city level, 21% was by U.S. retailers. The next most aggressive were Italian retailers at 12%, and French retailers at 11%.” (Chain Store Age)
  7. Building home to Facebook’s Frank Gehry-designed Seattle office sells for $286M “Dexter Station, a 10-story building in Seattle’s South Lake Union that is home to Facebook’s new Frank Gehry-designed office, just sold for a hefty price tag: $286 million. The deal represents a big pay day for developer Capstone Partners, which made the bold move of starting construction on the building in 2013 before it had leased any of the space. At that time much of the industry was still hesitant due to the recession, and there weren’t nearly as many active tech companies looking for prime real estate. Records point to the possibility of an international buyer, but it was not immediately clear based on information available through the King County Recorder’s Office. The buyer is listed as CR Dexter Station LLC, and the “governing person” of that Limited Liability Company is Commerz Real Investmentgesellscha. Commerz Real AG is a German company involved in real estate investment, equipment leasing and alternative investments.” (GeekWire)
  8. JLL Assists Brookfield With $855M Purchase, Financing “The JLL Capital Markets team did double duty on the sale of an $854.5 million logistics and office portfolio, completing the transactions of 46 assets in 12 states and securing $475.5 million in acquisition financing. Brookfield-sponsored private equity funds purchased both portfolios consisting of 37 assets across 7.6 million square feet in logistics facilities and nine assets totaling 1.1 million square feet of office space from TA Realty. The transaction, first announced in early April by TA Realty, includes assets in key metro areas such as Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Orlando, Washington, D.C., and the Inland Empire and Bay Area in California.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  9. Rescore Snags $100M for Hollywood Apartments “Rescore Property Corp. has obtained $100 million in construction financing for The Rise Hollywood. The property is a 368-unit, seven-story apartment project at 1331 North Cahuenga Blvd. in the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles. The property will feature nine-foot ceilings, wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, balconies and walk-in closets. Common amenities will include a pool, fitness center, yoga room, club room and dog run. The Rise Hollywood is in the Hollywood Entertainment District, which is a Business Improvement District. It stretches along Hollywood Boulevard from the LaBrea Avenue Gateway on the west to the Hollywood 101 Freeway on the east. The site has a Walk Score of 94 out of 100.” (MultiHousing News)
  10. Cumbo opposes Armory project in latest blow to redevelopment “City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo won’t support the controversial redevelopment of the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights — dealing another blow to the project backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Cumbo, whose district includes the armory, planned to make her opposition to the redevelopment a central theme of her State of the District speech Thursday, Politico reported. Cumbo has gone back and forth over whether to support the project in recent months. BFC Partners and CAMBA, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit, plan to transform the vacant 138,000-square-foot site into a mixed-use facility with affordable housing, market-rate condos and recreational facilities. Despite support for the project’s affordable housing component from City Hall, the project’s faced opposition from lawmakers including Rep. Yvette Clarke, State Sen. Jesse Hamilton and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Cumbo, who has expressed concerns that the project needs more affordable housing, has faced backlash over her relative indecision.” (The Real Deal)



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