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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (May 25, 2017)

BlackRock CEO signals he’s seeing better global economic growth, reports Reuters. MarketWatch looks at how Best Buy drives shoppers to its stores. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink Says Global Growth Accelerating “BlackRock Inc Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said global growth was accelerating and that corporate earnings were keeping pace with higher stock prices. The remarks are a break in tone for Fink from more dour statements on the U.S. stock market's prospects in recent months. Fink also said he expected wage growth to continue, following conversations with corporate executives who say they struggle to find the right workers.” (Reuters)
  2. This Is How Best Buy Gets So Many Customers to Come to its Stores “Best Buy Co. Inc. is doing something most retailers wish they could do nowadays: they’re getting customers into stores. About one-third of the consumer electronics retailer’s online sales are picked up in stores, according to David Silverman, senior director of corporates at Fitch Ratings, owing to the qualities of many of the items the company is selling. Among the merchandise in Best Buy’s inventory are large-screen televisions and cumbersome appliances.” (MarketWatch)
  3. Medical Properties Trust to Buy $1.4 Billion in Medical Real Estate “Birmingham's Medical Properties Trust will buy $1.4 billion worth of medical real estate interests. The 10 hospitals are currently operated by IASIS Healthcare in Franklin, Tennessee. The transaction is expected to close in September. The hospitals will be operated by Steward Health Care System. Steward and IASIS will be merging, and completion of that merging is a condition of the MPT's purchase.” (Alabama Business)
  4. Ben Carson Says ‘Poverty Is a State of Mind’ “Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is under fire for calling poverty a ‘state of mind.’ In an interview with SiriusXM Radio host Armstrong Williams that aired on Wednesday, Carson was asked about what could be done to reduce the number of people living in poverty. ‘If everybody had a mother like mine, nobody would be in poverty,’ Carson started. ‘She was a person who absolutely would not accept status of victim.’ Carson said it's mind over matter.” (CNBC)
  5. Saudi Prince Wants to Save Embattled Plaza Hotel “Eloise might finally get a landlord who’s not in trouble with the law. Hoping to lift the storied Plaza Hotel out of a years-long rut, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal has partnered with Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. to force a buyout, The Post has learned. The deal could pry the Plaza out of the hands of accused fraudster Subrata Roy, who had been locked up in India amid allegations that he bilked investors out of billions of dollars.” (New York Post)
  6. As Down Payment Needs Swell, These Companies Step in to Help—in Exchange for a Small Stake “Homeownership’s biggest barrier to entry, the down payment, looms larger and larger all across the country. Student debt payments and high rents are formidable barriers to saving, and, while there are plenty of ways to buy a home with less than 20% down, all require some form of mortgage insurance, making them more expensive. For a long time, nonprofits have tried to help home buyers up and over the hurdle. But in today’s tight market and constrained lending environment, fintech companies are seeing an opportunity as well, particularly in the hottest housing markets, where 20% down can mean six figures.” (MarketWatch)
  7. Fast-Fashion Giant Primark Touring Large Manhattan Spaces “Maybe Manhattan retail isn’t dead as we know it? A number of retail brands are on the hunt for large spaces in the borough, including discount clothier Primark, insiders told The Real Deal. The Dublin-based clothing company with 290 stores globally was close to signing a 56,000-square-foot lease across three floors of Sitt Asset Management’s 2 Herald Square, but the deal fell through in April, sources told The Real Deal. It still hopes to find a similarly-sized space in Manhattan, industry brokers said.” (Commercial Observer)
  8. Understanding Online Real Estate Lending as an Investment Strategy “Investors are always on a quest to grow capital while minimizing risk. Available options for investors looking to grow their capital include stock investments, debt products, or leaving their cash in checking and savings accounts to earn minimal returns. But as average profits from residential flips reach all-time records, investing in residential real estate remains a popular way to diversify your investment portfolio while allowing you to hedge against stock market volatility.” (Forbes)
  9. Vegas-Based Switch Plans $2.5 Billion Data Center Campus in Atlanta “Las Vegas-based data center operator Switch is entering Atlanta with plans for $2.5 billion, more than 1 million-square-foot data center campus. The expansion will involve a $2.5 billion investment. The Atlanta hub in Douglas County, which will serve the Southeast and Virginia markets, is expected to grow to "several million square feet" with two campus locations. Atlanta is among the fastest-growing markets in the country for data center space, in terms of build-out and demand.” (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
  10. Foreign Investor Acquires Long Island Shopping Center “The Mall at the Source and the adjoining Fortunoff Building, encompassing an aggregate 723,300 square feet of space in Westbury, N.Y., have just come under new ownership. HFF—acting on behalf of special servicers LNR Partners LLC, a subsidiary of Starwood Property Trust Inc., and C-III Asset Management LLC, representing a REMIC trust—sold the Long Island mall and attached vacant retail anchor to an unidentified private foreign buyer for $92 million. The open-air shopping center came unencumbered; the Fortunoff Building was snapped up simultaneously via a deed in lieu of foreclosure.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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