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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (May 8, 2019)

U.S. real estate is still viewed as a better investment than stocks, according to Gallup. The New York Times looks at the president’s tax returns from 1985 through 1994. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. In U.S., Real Estate Still Leads Stocks as Best Investment “Stocks have had a strong 2019, with the major U.S. stock indices establishing or nearing record highs in April and early May. Still, more Americans continue to believe real estate (35%) is a superior long-term investment to stocks (27%) or other investment options. The April 1-9 Gallup poll was conducted amid the ongoing bull stock market, but before the recent stock index records.” (Gallup)
  2. Decade in the Red: Trump Tax Figures Show Over $1 Billion in Business Losses “The data — printouts from Mr. Trump’s official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts, with the figures from his federal tax form, the 1040, for the years 1985 to 1994 — represents the fullest and most detailed look to date at the president’s taxes, information he has kept from public view. Though the information does not cover the tax years at the center of an escalating battle between the Trump administration and Congress, it traces the most tumultuous chapter in a long business career — an era of fevered acquisition and spectacular collapse.” (The New York Times)
  3. Unlocking the Two-Sided Market for Commercial Real Estate Services “When it comes to operating commercial real estate assets, there’s an opportunity to learn from the pioneers of the two-sided market. Today, there is a lot of trust placed in the third-party vendors contracted to install and maintain critical systems. Each portfolio has its ‘go-to’ guy for the various aspects of building operations. There are the boiler guys, the elevator guys, the HVAC guys and so on. Landlords tend to develop strong relationships with a vendor and trust that they will get the job done.” (Forbes)
  4. A Growing Area of Real Estate: Religious Organizations as Landlords “Churches and other religious organizations have some of the least used real estate of any property category. Meeting rooms, classrooms, and the sanctuary are usually left vacant during most of the week. Understandably, many organizations often consider how to monetize these infrequently used spaces by leasing them. The target tenants are primarily private schools, charter schools, childcare operators, and smaller unaffiliated religious groups.” (D Magazine)
  5. SF Supervisors Change Tune on Big Tech: City Is ‘Not Just a Place to be Mined’ “A stern attitude toward the tech industry has emerged on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors — the most progressive in recent history — as some members look to tax an industry for problems they say it helped cause. In the past year alone, board members have supported a tax on big businesses to raise money for homeless services, decided not to renew a tax break for certain companies — many of them tech — in Mid-Market and begun crafting a proposal to tax ride-hailing companies.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  6. Vacant Dallas First National Bank Tower Is Getting a Record-Setting Redo to the Tune of $450 Million “A new development and investment team has come to the rescue of downtown Dallas' biggest building project. Revival of the almost-two-decades vacant First National Bank tower is expected to cost almost $450 million. Conversion of the 52-story landmark skyscraper is one of the largest such urban restoration projects in the country and the largest ever in Dallas. The Elm Street building is being turned into a combination of apartments, hotel rooms, retail and office space.” (Dallas Morning News)
  7. Florida Developer Plans Loop Tower with Assisted Living and Medical Offices “A Florida developer is drawing up plans for a project here aimed at aging baby boomers who want to live downtown. Orlando-based Ponte Health wants to build a tower of 21 stories or more with assisted living and medical office space at 424-434 S. Wabash Ave., about a block from the Harold Washington Library. The developer plans to sign a contract to purchase the development site this week, said CEO Tabitha Ponte.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
  8. Walmart Opens an Online Pet Pharmacy to Compete with Chewy While Adding Vet Clinics in Stores “Walmart is turning over more spaces across the front of its huge Supercenters to an operator of pet clinics and bringing the service to Dallas-Fort Worth. Walmart is also getting into the online pet pharmacy business through WalmartPetRx.com, going up against Chewy.com. And later this month, Walmart's 4,500 store pharmacies will begin stocking the top 30 most requested pet medications.” (Dallas Morning News)
  9. Qatar-Based Investment Firm in Talks to Buy 2 Garment District Buildings “Middle Eastern entities are locking up more city assets, including a nearly billion-dollar purchase on Fifth Avenue and two other purchases in the Garment Center. Alduwaliya Asset Management, a Doha, Qatar-based investment firm, is in contract to buy two mid-block Garment Center assets for $140 million, which in the past would have been snapped up by locals.” (New York Post)
  10. The Long and Short of It: Shoring Retail CMBS Is Looking Bettor and Bettor “While the short-selling of retail CMBS doesn’t exactly mirror the bets made prior to the fall of the sub-prime mortgage market in Michael Lewis’ The Big Short, it has certainly captured the attention of the financial sector. The modern U.S. economy is well into a slow but steady purge of brick-and-mortar retail from the marketplace, thanks to an e-commerce takeover, and where there’s distress, there’s opportunity.” (Commercial Observer)
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