10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (May 24, 2017)

Neiman Marcus and Related Cos. have met to “discuss a possible investment in the luxury chain, including partnering in a possible deal to acquire it,” according to New York Post. Reuters reports that Toll Brothers, developer of high-end planned communities and apartments, has announced higher-than-expected home sales. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.


  1. Neiman Marcus recently met about a merger with Related Cos. “Real-estate behemoth Related Cos. recently met with Neiman Marcus to discuss a possible investment in the luxury chain, including partnering in a possible deal to acquire it, The Post has learned. New York-based Related is concerned about the teetering financial health of Neiman, and that the retailer might require financial backing as it gears up to anchor Related’s massive Hudson Yards office-and-retail complex on Manhattan’s West Side that’s slated to open late next year, sources said.” (New York Post)
  2. Toll Brothers' profit, revenue beat on higher home sales “Toll Brothers Inc's profit and revenue beat analysts' estimates, boosted by robust demand and the U.S. luxury homebuilder raised its sales forecast for fiscal 2017. Shares of the company, which builds homes that can cost upwards of $2 million, rose 3.5 percent in premarket trading on Tuesday. Orders, a key metric of future revenue for homebuilders, rose 26 percent to 2,511 homes in the second quarter, its best order growth in nearly three years. ‘This was the best spring selling season we have had in over 10 years,’ Chief Executive Douglas Yearley said on Tuesday. The number of homes sold rose to 1,638 from 1,304 in the quarter ended April 30.” (Reuters)
  3. 5 cities where you can make a decent living (and actually save money) “You are where you live — at least, when it comes to your income and spending. Virginia Beach, Va. is perhaps the cheapest place to live and save money when taking income, cost of living and the unemployment rate in that city into account, according to a study released this week by personal-finance site GoBankingRates. It was followed by San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Neb. and Arlington, Texas. The report analyzed the largest 60 cities in the U.S. Virginia Beach had the highest median income ($66,634 per year) and a median home listing of $279,900. San Francisco was the worst city for saving money and had the highest median monthly rent at $4,500; it also had the highest average gas price ($3.16 per gallon) and median home listing ($1.2 million). Bakersfield, Calf. has the highest unemployment rate (11.5% in March 2017).” (MarketWatch)
  4. Blackstone is Taking Over Mom-and-Pop Real-Estate Investing “Blackstone Group LP amassed one of the world’s largest real estate portfolios by pulling in much more capital than competitors from big institutions such as pension funds, insurers and university endowments. Now it is taking its show to mom-and-pop investors—and again blowing away its competition.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required) 
  5. China Life Acquires U.S. Real Estate Portfolio for $950 Million “Hong Kong-listed life insurer China Life Insurance (2628.HK) will spend USD950 million on commercial real estate projects in the U.S.. Under the deal, a unit of the China Life that specializes in alternative investments will acquire a 95% stake in projects currently owned by St. Louis-based private equity firm ElmTree Funds. China Life and ElmTree will jointly managed the properties following the deal. They include logistics centers, offices and healthcare facilities spread across more than 20 U.S. states. China’s life insurers have been splashing the cash on foreign real estate since the Chinese government lifted a ban on doing about five years ago. Last year, China Life joined a USD1.65 billion deal to buy a 1.8 million square foot office tower in Manhattan.” (Barron’s) 
  6. D-FW second nationally for warehouse building and leasing “With almost 21 million square feet of projects under construction, Dallas-Fort Worth is hanging onto its spot near the top of U.S. industrial development markets. Only Southern Calif had more warehouse space under construction at the end of the first quarter, according to a new report by commercial real estate firm JLL. With more than 6 million square feet of net leasing, the D-FW area was also second nationally in warehouse tenant demand.” (Dallas News) 
  7. The nation’s newest hot housing market — Philadelphia “Forget Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, and all the other sizzling west coast metros: there’s a new hot housing market. And just like one of its most famous mythical heroes sons, it’s a bit of an underdog whose time has come. Philadelphia home prices are on a tear, according to Econsult Solutions, an economics consulting firm based in the city. Econsult’s proprietary index shows double-digit annual price growth starting in mid-2016, with annual appreciation averaging over 20% throughout 2017.” (MarketWatch)
  8. Chinatown Activists Look To Establish Housing Sanctuary In Booming Real Estate Market "A brick row house at 29 Oak Street was the ideal candidate to be the first property acquired by a group trying to keep housing affordable in Chinatown. Lydia Lowe, of the Chinatown Community Land Trust, says the trust was prepared to pay $900,000 — and because it was owned by an active member of the community, it seemed like a sure bet. 'This was a long-time community homeowner and activist that we knew for decades,' Lowe said, standing across the street from the building. "But we were unable to purchase the home because an investor came in and offered $1.3 million for this little building." Lowe laughed and shook her head. "This little three-story building!'" (WBUR News)
  9. BH Properties Lands $253M Loan for NYC Portfolio "More than six months after acquiring ground leases for the land under three New York City limited service hotels with a total of 1,179 guestrooms, Los Angeles-based BH Properties has financed the portfolio with a $252.8 million mortgage and mezzanine facility secured by New York Life Real Estate Investors. The financing obtained by New York Life Real Estate Investors was described as a cross-collateralized, 25-year facility." (Commercial Property Executive) 
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