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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (October 18, 2017)

The Wall Street Journal looks at how struggling malls stay afloat. Adaptive-reuse projects are moving to the suburbs, reports the New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Trump Likely to Name Fed Chair by Early November: Source Familiar “U.S. President Donald Trump has a pool of five candidates to choose from for the next chair of the Federal Reserve and is likely to announce his choice before going to Asia in early November, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday. Trump has an interview scheduled on Thursday with current Fed Chair Janet Yellen, whose term expires in February. She is one of the five candidates, the source said. The others consist of his chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, along with former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh, Fed Governor Jerome Powell and Stanford University economist John Taylor.” (Reuters)
  2. How Some Malls Manage to Stay Alive Years after Losing Their Mojo “The U.S. has far too many malls scrambling to attract consumers at a time when online shopping is tightening its grip. That doesn’t mean middling malls will die quickly, however. Projections for hundreds of shopping centers to close in the next five years could prove too pessimistic.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  3. Warehouse Conversions Aren’t Just for Cities Anymore. Or Just for Warehouses “The notion that old commercial buildings could enjoy a second life as places to live and work was popularized by artists in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood in the 1960s, when dusty warehouses started to give way to studios and apartments. And in the ensuing years, the trend seemed to play out mostly in dense urban areas, where tight quarters necessitated that residents be creative. Now, however, in an era when homes and offices seem to embrace industrial décor, such “adaptive-reuse” projects are turning up in more suburban areas, in a slew of building types.” (The New York Times)
  4. Donald Trump’s Fortune Falls $800 Million to $3.7 Billion “Forbes’ new investigation into Trump’s wealth pegs his fortune at $3.7 billion, down $800 million from a year ago. A softening of New York City's real estate market, particularly in retail and office, where valuations are trending down, has diminished his estimated net worth. New information was also a factor. Of the 28 assets or asset classes scrutinized by Forbes, 18 declined in value, including his trademark Trump Tower on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, his downtown jewel 40 Wall Street and Mar-a-Lago, his private beachfront club in Palm Beach.” (Forbes)
  5. Global Investors Pour Billions Into Hudson Yards in Major Bull Market Bet “Architect A. Eugene Kohn recalls touring a windswept rail yard on Manhattan’s far west side in 2005 and being doubtful about its potential for commercial development. ‘Who in the world would want to live over here or work over here,’ Mr. Kohn, whose firm went on to become the master planner of the site, recalled thinking at the time. ‘Who is going to put the money up?’” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  6. Retail Sits Vacant in Nearly $1B of Newly Bought Soho Real Estate “Investors who shelled out more than $980 million to buy retail-focused buildings and condominium and cooperative units in Soho over the past six years are today sitting with their spaces vacant, according to a recent analysis by The Real Deal. Real estate players including 60 Guilders and Ponte Gadea paid top dollar for store space and are now working to fill it as the retail market shifts underfoot. In total, investors bought 41 properties in the neighborhood that as of last month had more than 185,000 square feet of retail space sitting vacant, representing about one-third of all the vacant space in the district.” (The Real Deal)
  7. No One at the Wheel: What Will Driverless Cars Do to Real Estate? “It’s perhaps a fool’s errand to attempt to anticipate what something as profound as self-driving cars might do to any industry, but Commercial Observer learned that many of the largest real estate companies feel that—at this point—they have no recourse but to try. The general sense is the industry got caught flat-footed with the housing crisis. It doesn’t want to repeat that with self-driving cars. Tech experts and real estate pros say the possible effects range from different underwriting to societal upheaval.” (Commercial Observer)
  8. Berkadia Tapped to Seek $650M for San Diego Project “A joint venture led by Manchester Financial Group tapped Berkadia Hotels and Hospitality to source a $650 million construction loan for the $1.3 billion Manchester Pacific Gateway project located on San Diego’s waterfront. The 12-acre downtown bayside site reportedly is the largest undeveloped urban waterfront site on California’s coast and will eventually encompass 2.8 million square feet of hotel, office and retail space. The location is bounded by Broadway, Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway and is adjacent to the U.S.S. Midway Museum.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  9. Uber Built a Face City in Pittsburgh with Roaming Mannequins to Test its Self-Driving Cars “Uber's self-driving-car pilot isn't without its controversy, but the program is still alive and well in Pittsburgh. The ride-hailing giant published a new video earlier this month showing a glimpse of its fake city where the company's robocars learn how to drive in the real world. Called ALMONO, the fake city is built on an old steel mill site along the Monongahela River in Hazelwood. It has a giant roundabout, fake cars, and roaming mannequins that jump out into the street without warning. There are even containers meant to stimulate buildings, training the cars to operate even when looming structures block their line of site.” (Business Insider)
  10. Camping World Acquires Another Company “The largest U.S. chain dedicated to recreational vehicles is still in growth mode. Camping World Holdings said Tuesday that it will acquire Cooper’s RV Center. Residing in the greater Pittsburgh region, the company serves western Pennsylvania with a broad assortment of RVs, and built its brand on a high level of customer service, said Marcus Lemonis, chairman of Camping World Holdings.” (Chain Store Age)
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