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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (May 9, 2017)

U.S. banks are tightening underwriting standards for commercial mortgages, reports Reuters. Stockholders are selling off mall REIT shares, according to MarketWatch. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1.  Banks Are Tightening Commercial Real Estate Loan Standards “Loan officers at U.S. banks reported tightening their lending standards for commercial real estate loans over the last year, the Federal Reserve said on Monday in a report that could heighten concerns about the outlook for commercial real estate. Officials at the U.S. central bank, including Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, have warned that a run-up in commercial real estate prices could amplify any future economic downturn.” (Reuters)
  2. Warren Buffet Just Confirmed the Death of Retail as We Know It “Warren Buffett says that in 10 years the retail industry will look nothing like it does now. ‘The department store is online now,’ the billionaire investor said Saturday at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, as reported by Business Insider's Bob Bryan. ‘I have no illusion that 10 years from now will look the same as today, and there will be a few things along the way that surprise us...’” (Business Insider)
  3. Mall REITs Lead Broad-Based Selloff of Real Estate-Related Stocks “Real estate-related stocks were the biggest decliners on the S&P 500 on Monday, led by mall REITS, on continued concerns about weak traffic and the onslaught on bricks-and-mortar stores from juggernaut Inc. The sector has struggled this year as a record number of retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection, while others have announced store closures. Retailers like Macy's Inc., which reports first-quarter earnings this week, and Sears Holdings Corp.” (MarketWatch)
  4. U.S. SEC Loses Retrial in Florida Bank Case “A federal jury on Monday cleared a Florida bank and its former chief executive of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that they downplayed real estate lending risks prior to the global financial crisis. Jurors in Miami found BBX Capital Corp , a Florida company once known as BankAtlantic Bancorp, and former Chief Executive Alan Levan not liable on all counts in the civil case, including improper accounting, court records showed. The SEC had accused BankAtlantic and Levan of making misleading statements in a July 2007 conference call to hide deterioration in the bank's commercial real estate portfolio.” (Reuters)
  5. Boston’s Real Estate Market Is Poised for a Boom “General Electric Co. Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt on Monday joined Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and other government leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of the company’s new headquarters, the most vivid sign so far of a historic real-estate boom gathering steam in New England’s biggest city. GE is moving its headquarters to Boston from Fairfield, Conn., at a time when roughly 14 million square feet of new space is being developed.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  6. Eric Trump Denies Alleged Statements on Russian Funding “President Donald Trump’s son denied Monday that he told a sportswriter that the family’s real estate business got money from Russia to fund golf courses. In an early morning tweet, Eric Trump said the account from writer James Dodson was ‘completely fabricated.’ His assertion came hours before a new round of testimony on Capitol Hill related to investigations into possible ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia’s election meddling.” (Associated Press)
  7. This Office Landlord Is Making Real Money on Nearly Empty Space in NYC’s Hottest Address “On the 85th floor of One World Trade Center in Manhattan, there are offices, conference rooms, kitchenettes and co-working spaces. There are not, however, very many people. The offices stand largely empty. And that is just fine with landlord Servcorp. ‘We now have 40,000 customers that don't actually rent any space from us,’ said Marcus Moufarrige, Servcorp's chief operating officer. ‘They can use our space on a casual basis; they can use infrastructure, we've got in telecommunications technology, so their business is really well-represented.’” (CNBC)
  8. How Miami’s Improving Office Market Could Affect Your Life “While the lack of affordable housing and the glut of luxury condos were getting all the attention, another segment of Miami’s real estate has started to heat up: The lowly, unglamorous office space. The total square footage of office space leased in Miami-Dade in the first quarter of 2017 shot up 40 percent over the same period last year, according to a new report by the real estate brokerage firm JLL. The average asking price per square foot was $36.99, which continues a steady climb since 2012’s first quarter price of $31.60.” (Miami Herald)
  9. Details Revealed for Obama Center “More details emerged on plans for the Obama Presidential Center, which will sprout up on approximately 21 acres in the historic Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago. Members of the Obama Foundation unveiled the conceptual vision and site map of the 200,000 to 225,000-square-foot project at a recent event hosted by President and Mrs. Obama. The price tag for the development has been reported to be approximately $500 million.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  10. Ads for Ex-Gov. Spitzer’s Luxe High Rise Feature Not Subtle Nod to Pot “The ad campaign for former Governor Eliot Spitzer's waterfront tower construction is a bit blunt. The disgraced state leader, who opposed legalizing medical marijuana while campaigning for office, seems to have softened his stance towards the wacky tobacky, for marketing purposes at least, at his forthcoming 420 Kent Avenue.” (DNAInfo)
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