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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (November 4, 2016)

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (November 4, 2016)


  1. Sears Will Shrink 12 Stores To Make Space For More Tenants “One way that Sears Holdings has been raising cash recently has been to take advantage of its vast portfolio of retail real estate, selling store buildings to an affiliated real estate investment trust and using the proceeds to keep the rest of the company going. That’s how the chain even posted a profit last year for the first time since 2012. Now its new landlord, the trust, is asking Sears to shrink down its living space and take on some roommates. Before and after sales to the trust, which is a joint venture with commercial real estate company General Growth Properties, Sears Holdings has been seeking tenants for parts of Sears and Kmart stores. Even if you don’t take the company’s financial troubles into account, changes in the retail business mean that the company doesn’t need all of that space, and it’s put to better use rented out to Primark or Whole Foods. The trust has been moving that process along, and now Sears has announced that it will be shrinking down a dozen stores across the country by 2018, including one in the Chicago suburbs near-ish its headquarters.” (Consumerist)
  2. Chinese Hotel Buyers Are the U.S.’s Newest Debt Borrowers—And It’s Not Plain Sailing “While Chinese investment into the U.S. economy is certainly not exclusive to hospitality—Asian investment on the whole soared to $47 billion in 2015 from $4.3 billion in 2009, according to CBRE—this year so far, Chinese investors account for 76 percent of overseas capital invested in U.S. hotels, which is already more than double the 32 percent last year. Year-to-date, Chinese investors have deployed $7.7 billion of capital into U.S. hotels, eclipsing the $2.5 billion they invested at the same point 2015, according to data from JLL. ‘Generally, Chinese commercial real estate investors are very comfortable with hotels,’ Jerome Sanzo, the head of real estate finance at Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, told Commercial Observer. ‘They’re probably more comfortable with hotels than many other property types or other segments of the market. We think there will continue to be a lot of interest from large Chinese commercial real estate investors in U.S. hotels, particularly in high-quality, select-service or limited-service hospitality, especially if those properties are in key gateway markets such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.’” (Commercial Observer)
  3. Developer’s Perspective on Real Estate’s Hardest Decision: Sell or Hold “Speaking at the 2016 ULI Fall Meeting, John McNellis, a principal with McNellis Partners, a northern California–based developer, shared part of his perspective, as captured in his book, Making It in Real Estate. For those looking to get into the real estate business, McNellis advised trying to take a 20-year approach to your career. ‘Do you want to work for the biggest company that’s constantly in the headlines, or do you want to focus on building economic independence? Are you doing the night classes and other hard work to get to where you want to be?’ McNellis, who was educated as an attorney, said one of the factors that led him to sell earlier in his career was to gain independence from his financial partners. ‘I’d rather control 100 percent of a $1 million deal than 1 percent of a $100 million deal,’ he said. Now, his company holds a portfolio of four or five key asset properties, with a line of credit against those holdings, and uses that line of credit to finance acquisitions and construction.” (Urban Land Magazine)
  4. One World Trade Center Announces New Amenities Program for Tenants “This week the Durst Organization and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today unveiled its plans for One World Commons, One World Trade Center's fully amenitized 64th floor, which will feature an eclectic mix of programming and resources available to all tenants and their guests. The Gensler-designed One World Commons, slated to open in the first quarter of 2017, is expected to become an asset reaching far beyond the scope of a standard amenity program, transforming it into the heart of the building. The world-class corporate and social hub will help build a community within the iconic tower, and inspire cross-collaboration among the diverse industry types who call One World Trade Center home. Occupying approximately 25,000 square feet of the 31,288-square-foot floor, One World Commons will be a place to conduct informal and formal meetings, socialize over coffee, listen to a series of guest speakers, network and collaborate with like-minded peers, and play a quick round of video games or billiards.” (World Property Journal)
  5. Micro-loft trend an evolution of Detroit development “A lot of downtown Detroit apartments still look more or less like suburban apartments that just happen to be in the central core of the city. But the new 28 Grand project by Dan Gilbert promises something new — a unit designed specifically for youth-oriented downtown residents. That means plenty of bicycle storage but no on-site car parking. It means the units come fully furnished, including beds, a TV and refrigerator — just move in and hang your clothes. And with units averaging a postage-stamp 260 square feet in size, they're designed for on-the-go residents, be they first-job college grads working at Gilbert's Quicken Loans or commuting executives who might otherwise be in a hotel. Gilbert's Bedrock Real Estate Services unveiled details about these "micro loft" units Thursday. The 13-story, 101,000-square-foot building at 28 W. Grand in the Capitol Park district is already under construction on what used to be the site of a strip club. The rental office opens in February, and residents can move in around mid-2017. The project advances the evolution of the downtown Detroit market from one marked by moribund vacant buildings 10 or 20 years ago to a youth-oriented market with apartment units to match. And these micro lofts represent a growing niche in the U.S. rental market designed to offer hassle-free living spaces that require no new furniture, just a key to get in.” (Detroit Free Press)
  6. Caesars unit seeking $3.8 billion cash to exit bankruptcy “Caesars Entertainment Corp's main casino operating unit has begun a process to raise up to $3.8 billion of cash needed to exit a contentious two-year bankruptcy, according to a court filing late Wednesday. After more than a year of legal wrangling, the Caesars subsidiary last month secured support from the vast majority of its creditors for a wide-ranging plan to emerge from bankruptcy early next year. Caesars Entertainment Operating Co Inc (CEOC) filed for Chapter 11 protection in January 2015 with $18 billion of debt and allegations by creditors that its parent looted the unit prior to the bankruptcy. The Caesars parent has promised to contribute some $5 billion to CEOC's reorganization plan in exchange for creditors dropping billions of dollars of claims.” (Business Insider)
  7. CNL Lifestyle Sells Ski Resorts, Recreation Assets for $830M “The biggest sale of ski resorts in the United States is part of a multi-layer deal valued at $830 million that would see the recreation assets of CNL Lifestyle Properties, split between a Missouri-based REIT and a New York City hedge fund. CNL Lifestyle, an Orlando, Fla.-based REIT, has been in the process of liquidating its assets for several years. The REIT had previously sold 120 properties for $1.9 billion and this last deal will be for its final 36 ski and attraction assets, including some of the country’s major ski resorts like Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colorado; Okemo Mountain Resort, Vermont; and Sugarloaf Mountain Resort in Maine. One resort in Canada, Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, is also included in the sale.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  8. Hotel bubble? Not according to these CRE execs  “New York’s hotel market has mostly produced negative headlines over the past year amid fears of oversupply and declining international tourism. But Norman Sturner thinks the worries are overblown. ‘The fact of the matter is that New York has 54 million (annual) visitors,’ he said Thursday morning at a panel discussion hosted by the Deal Flow Network and moderated by The Real Deal’s publisher Amir Korangy. Sturner said any conclusion that a minor drop in the number of visitors would cause major problems for the hotel market is “just silly.’ Sturner’s MHP Real Estate Services is currently developing the 29-story Dream Hotel near Times Square. Like Sturner, Robyn Sorid calls widespread pessimism over hotel oversupply misplaced. ‘We see it as an overreaction,’ the co-founder of bridge lender G4 Capital Partners said. G4 is currently financing two new hotel developments — one in Williamsburg and one in Tribeca — and Sorid said traditional lenders’ reluctance to lend on hotel projects has created an ‘incredible opportunity’ for her firm.” (The Real Deal)
  9. The Rebirth of Multifamily Development in Downtown Miami “Downtown Miami’s residents are now mostly young professionals, with the 25-44 age group comprising 40 percent of the population, according to the latest demographics report from the Miami Downtown Development Authority (MDDA). The number of young professionals in the city’s core increased by roughly 30 percent since 2010. This has led to an almost complete absorption of what experts feared would be another condo bubble and spurred a boost in multifamily development in the tropical waterfront city once known for its sprawling suburbia. ‘More than 20,000 condos were built between 2005 and 2009—a figure double the amount built during the 40 years prior. And while Miami was criticized for this ‘overbuilding,’ it helped lure thousands of young professionals and families to its urban core and set in motion one of the most dynamic urban renewals of recent decades,” Alyce Robertson, executive director of the MDDA, told Multi-Housing News.” (MultiHousing News)
  10. New retailers fill redeveloped New Jersey center “Target, HomeGoods, and Petco will be opening this month at Closter Plaza, a Whole Foods-anchored center in Closter, New Jersey, undergoing a complete redevelopment. Owner Edens has stated it is ‘re-energizing’ the 208,337-sq.-ft. center with tenants possessing greater appeal to affluent local residents. The developer reports that the average household income within a five-mile radius of the center is $134,000. Chic workout chains Orangetheory, CycleBar, and The Bar Method will be opening at Closter in 2017, in line with Eden’s plan to make it the region’s top fitness destination.” (Chain Store Age)


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