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1290 avenue of the americas Photo: Vornado

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Nov. 23, 2020)

Vornado Realty Trust has scrapped efforts to try and sell two office towers that the Trump Organization owns stakes in, reports the Wall Street Journal. An analysis by Bisnow of commercial real estate finance organizations found that 85 percent of executives at those firms are white. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Trump Partner Shelves Office Tower Sales Effort That Hoped to Raise $5 Billion “The Trump family’s partner in two of its most valuable properties halted an effort to sell the buildings, cutting off what could have been a big cash payout for the Trump Organization, which has hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due. Vornado Realty Trust, which co-owns with the Trumps an office tower in San Francisco and another in Midtown Manhattan, decided to shelve the sales process when it couldn’t attract a buyer at the prices it wanted, according to one of the selling brokers and other people familiar with the matter.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. 85% Of Leaders Are White At The Finance Giants That Bankroll Commercial Real Estate “Their blockbuster deals grab headlines foretelling economic prosperity across American suburbs, towns, cities and neighborhoods — but all too often, those dollars do not flow toward communities of color. The titans of the finance industry are community kingmakers, and they are managed mostly by White men. Out of every 20 executives at the two dozen biggest funders of commercial real estate, 17 are White, according to a Bisnow analysis of their leadership.” (Bisnow)
  3. CoStar to Buy Homesnap for $250 Million “CoStar Group, Inc., one of the world’s largest providers of commercial real-estate information and analytics, has taken its first major step into the residential data business by agreeing to pay $250 million for Homesnap Inc. Founded in 2012, Homesnap is a fast-growing company that provides residential real-estate brokers with apps and other technology for managing and analyzing their listings as well as the broader market. About 300,000 residential agents use it an average of 30 times a month.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  4. Westfield opens DTC showrooms in NYC and Silicon Valley “The showrooms aim to build a physical presence for direct-to-consumer brands across the health, wellness, home goods, and clean beauty sectors. Brik + Clik’s Manhattan location will showcase six brands curated by Makerhoods, the Newark, New Jersey-based platform that supports local makers in distressed neighborhoods.” (Chain Store Age)
  5. Blackstone Seeking at Least $5 Billion for Second Asia Fund “Blackstone Group Inc. is doubling down on Asia, seeking to raise at least $5 billion for its second private equity fund focused on the region, people familiar with the matter said.” (Bloomberg)
  6. Bucksbaum sues movie chain Cinemex for $18M “The developer of a major mixed-use complex next to Wrigley Field is suing its movie theater tenant for $18 million, alleging it failed to complete work on its space and has skipped rent payments. Bucksbaum Properties, a co-developer of the $150 million apartment and retail complex in Wrigleyville, filed the federal lawsuit, claiming Mexican cinema chain Cinemex is in breach of contract.” (The Real Deal)
  7. Tech And Tokenization Rise To Real Estate's COVID-19 Challenge “Technology has accelerated a trend in the last few years to tokenize illiquid assets such as real estate. Dividing properties into shares to be bought and traded may have started out as a novel experiment to empower more people to invest in buildings that they could never afford to own outright. But now this fractional ownership model is crucial to helping save sectors of the real estate market.” (International Business Times)
  8. NYC poised for 2021 COVID comeback with major real estate developments “A new JP Morgan Chase headquarters and the nearly completed 425 Park Avenue tower promise to restore the boulevard’s commercial luster. The dead-seeming zone between Madison Square Garden and Hudson Yards won’t be that way for long: The new Moynihan Train Hall inside the beautifully restored Farley Post Office building between Eighth and Ninth avenues opens by Dec. 31. At the work-in-progress Manhattan West complex between Ninth and Tenth avenues, a giant food hall opens in early 2021, followed in the summer by a public plaza, and eateries including a two-level restaurant from Danny Meyer.” (New York Post)
  9. Mayfair Capital co-founder steps down as CEO “James Thornton, co-founder of real estate investment management firm Mayfair Capital, will step down from his role as CEO at the end of this year and will be replaced by executive director Giles King from 1 January 2021. Thornton will remain non-executive chair of the business - which has £1.7bn of assets under management - and sit on the firm's UK executive board, as well as its investment risk and remuneration committees.”  (Investment Week)
  10. Historic Brooklyn hotel reopens as luxury senior community “The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights is a joint venture of Kayne Anderson Real Estate,  Watermark Retirement Communities and Tishman Speyer. A lending consortium that included BMO Harris, as well as Wells Fargo and Capital One, provided a $200 million acquisition and redevelopment loan for the $330 million transformation of the former Leverich Towers Hotel at 21 Clark Street. (Real Estate Weekly)
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