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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (November 21, 2016)

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (November 21, 2016)


  1. As Trump the politician rises, Trump the real estate brand falls “President-elect Donald Trump may be moving into the First Residence in January, but when it comes to his luxury condos, buyers in New York aren’t as enthused to move into homes with the Trump name on them as they used to be. According to the latest figures from CityRealty, a New York real-estate research firm, which among other topics, tracks Trump’s real estate holdings, the president-elect’s flagship properties in Manhattan now sell for about $1,915 a square foot, compared with $1,883 a square foot for other luxury properties in the city -- just a 2% premium. During the summer, with the presidential campaign in full swing, per-square-foot prices for Trump-branded condos in Manhattan still eked out a premium, averaging $1,974 a square foot, compared with $1,873 a square foot for all other units, a 5% premium advantage, CityRealty said. Trump enjoyed a similar 5% edge in Manhattan in 2015, said Gabby Warshawer, CityRealty’s director of research.” (MarketWatch)
  2. What does Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan mean for real estate? “Of all the tremendous promises of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign, arguably the biggest was his infrastructure proposal. And in this circumstance, ‘biggest’ doesn’t just refer to ambition — the plan will cost $1 trillion and involves building out transportation, water, telecommunications and energy infrastructure across the country. The plan aims to ‘transform America’s crumbling infrastructure into a golden opportunity for accelerated economic growth and more rapid productivity gains with a deficit-neutral plan targeting substantial new infrastructure investments.’ What are the potential implications for the real estate industry? Here are a few.” (
  3. Unit owners sue, claim Tampa condo building is sinking ""The owners’ association at a condominium in Tampa sued the contractors who built the 20-story building, alleging that construction defects are causing the condo to sink and tilt. The owners’ association at the 144-unit Plaza Harbour Island condominium claims in a suit filed in Hillsborough County Circuit Court that the nine-year-old building has exterior cracks due to 'significant subsidence concerns and structural design deficiencies.' The association’s suit cited geological investigations that found 'very loose and very soft bottom soils beneath the condominium’s ground floor. These soils are completely unsuitable to support the foundation, and … the soils have settled with resulting movement and significant cracking of the walls, stucco and structure.' The association at Plaza Harbour Island, located across a channel from downtown Tampa on an island with the same name, claims in the suit that unit owners face multiple costs due to construction defects, including reduced market values for their units. The owners of each unit must 'disclose the existence of these conditions to any potential purchaser, thereby limiting the marketability of his/her unit and reducing the market value of the unit,' the suit claims. The impact on unit prices at Plaza Harbour Island is unclear. This year, owners have sold seven units, and the highest price was $885,000 for a two-bedroom unit, which was $74,000 below the asking price." (The Real Deal Miami)”
  4. Three Hotels Worth $350M to Be Developed at ATL “Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, alongside Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Majestic Realty Co. and Carter officials, has announced the approval of a ground lease to build a master-planned development at ATL, as part of the ATLNext initiative, a $6 billion expansion and upgrade plan. The development will consist of two phases, with the design stage expected to begin in 2017 and construction slated to commence by 2018. The total cost of the project is estimated at more than $350 million. ‘With this partnership, Hartsfield-Jackson will soon have a world-class hotel worthy of the world’s leading airport. We are making investments today to secure the future of the airport and create long-term economic and business growth,’ Mayor Reed said in a prepared statement. Phase I of the development will consist of a 11-story, 440-key, four-star hotel with 800,000 square feet of conference/meeting space and an additional 60,000 square feet of Class A office space. The property will be built immediately west of the airport’s domestic terminal. The new hotel will also feature 750 parking stalls, MARTA and direct access to the SkyTrain that travels from ATL to Rental car Center and Georgia International Convention Center. In addition, a restaurant is planned for the main lobby and a skybar will be built on the tenth floor.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  5. Abercrombie weighing store closures as turnaround stalls “About half of Abercrombie & Fitch’s 745 U.S. store leases are up for renewal over the next 18 months, presenting an opportunity to shutter stores without leaving too much money on the table, the struggling teen apparel retailer's CFO Joanne Crevoiserat told analysts Friday. Abercrombie expects to close approximately 50 U.S. stores through natural lease expirations, Crevoiserat said, and in other cases the company may renegotiate rents as an alternative to outright closure. But she also noted that terms of individual leases vary, the “facts and circumstances” of each store vary as well, and in the aggregate Abercrombie’s flagship stores remain profitable, so the company is being judicious about its store-closing plans.  Abercrombie also operates 185 stores across Canada, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and while its European leases are structured differently, several there are also flexible, Crevoiserat added.” (Retail Dive)
  6. Google getting more serious about brick-and-mortar retail “Google is expanding its brick-and-mortar presence. Following the opening of its New York City pop-up store last month,  Google has partnered with Best Buy to amp up its retail presence. Starting on Nov. 18, 10 Google shops will begin opening in Best Buy locations across Canada, to be followed by four larger and more interactive shops in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Mississauga later this year. The in-store Google shops are designed to allow shoppers to fully experience and test drive the company's growing family of tech devices, including Pixel, Daydream View and Chromecast Ultra. The shops are part of Best Buy's redesigned "Experience Store”  format that boast state-of-the-art renovations and enhancements.” (Chain Store Age)
  7. Clarion Partners Lands $200M Refi for Mixed-Use Portfolio “Clarion Partners of New York has completed $200 million in financing for a nine-property portfolio consisting of multifamily, industrial and retail properties across six states, it was announced late last week by HFF, which had arranged the financing. HFF worked on behalf of the borrower, a commingled fund managed by Clarion Partners, to secure the fixed-rate loan through one of HFF’s correspondent lenders. The loan is secured by three multifamily properties totaling 761 units in Plano and Dallas, Texas and Minneapolis; four industrial properties totaling 1,718,768 square feet in Hanover, Md.; Denver; Pompano Beach, Fla.; and Redlands, Calif.; and two retail properties totaling 275,859 square feet in Delray Beach and Celebration, Fla. The HFF debt placement team representing the borrower was led by Senior Managing Director Riaz Cassum, Director Lauren O’Neil and Senior Real Estate Analyst Robyn King.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  8. Cuomo approves $300M for NYC affordable housing projects “Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed off on granting the city another $300 million in bonding authority on Friday, providing a considerable bump in funds needed to construct affordable housing. With this latest allowance, the state has granted the city $771 million in tax exempt bond capacity this year — an amount Cuomo’s office touted as the highest provided in a decade. ‘Homelessness is exploding and affordable housing is all but disappearing,’ Cuomo said in a statement. ‘New York City needs this help from the state which will provide thousands of units of safe, clean, affordable housing and will help alleviate this crisis.’ Under federal law, the state controls bond capacity, a fact that has been yet another source of tension between Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. In November 2015, the de Blasio administration claimed it received a far smaller share of the bonds than it was promised and, as a result, had t0 delay construction of certain affordable units. In January, Cuomo also proposed changes that would have added two new layers to the bond allocation approval process, a prospect New York Housing Commissioner Vicki Been called ‘a poison pill.’ The revisions were ultimately not implemented.” (The Real Deal)
  9. In New Jersey and Long Island, Developers Eye Office-to-Warehouse Conversions “Peter Sudler didn’t make the decision to demolish one of his top-end suburban office buildings lightly. But he knew better than to fight the market. ‘Rather than sit there with an empty office building I am repositioning it to warehouse distribution,’ the developer said. Sudler Cos. is tearing down a 25-year-old, 500,000-square-foot office building in Cranbury, N.J., to clear the way for 800,000 square feet of industrial space. Not so long ago, replacing an office building with a warehouse wouldn’t have crossed the minds of many developers. Office space, after all, costs more to build and usually generates higher rents. A red-hot warehouse market driven by the rise of e-commerce has changed that. Though the numbers are small, several suburban office properties in or near New Jersey and Long Island industrial neighborhoods have been redeveloped as warehouses. ‘It was always the reverse, and we used to convert from industrial to office,’ said Thomas DiMicelli, an executive vice president with brokerage firm JLL who works in the Long Island market. ‘Industrial values have gone up enough, it can make converting office buildings worthwhile.’ Many of the converted properties weren’t top-notch office space but met a number of requirements for a warehouse, including close proximity to New York City, ports and highways but ample distance from residential communities. Adequate land for trailer-trucks to park and move goods is also critical, said Jules Nissim, an executive vice president real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  10. Orlando: The ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ for Industrial Real Estate “Over the past five years, the Central Florida industrial market has been transformed from its prior position as a spoke in the wheel of distribution to the hub. To service consumers located in the country’s third most populous state, companies are locating large distribution centers in Central Florida (hub) with smaller distribution centers in Tampa, South Florida and Jacksonville (spokes). From a distribution standpoint, Central Florida has become the statewide distribution center for Florida. The world of e-commerce began with the birth of the internet in the early 90s, made a big milestone with the first secure online transaction in 1994, and today Amazon is no longer first thought of as a rainforest in South America. In fact, Amazon is so prolific that recent reports from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimate that Amazon Prime now reaches nearly half of U.S. households. That translates to 54 million people, just in the United States, who have paid $99 for an annual membership that enables each consumer access to free two-day shipping. Amazon Prime and other retailers are in competition for consumer purchasing, offering free and expedited shipping to gain a competitive edge. The uptick in e-commerce has accelerated demand for statewide distribution in Florida.” (REBusiness)
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