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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (October 2, 2018)

A revised NAFTA deal won’t take away tariffs on steel and aluminum, the Wall Street Journal reports. Fortune looks at Re:Store—a WeWork for online retail brands. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Steel, Aluminum Tariffs to Persist Despite Trade Deal “A revised free-trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico will leave in place Trump administration tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. U.S. negotiators have insisted that any changes to U.S. duties on steel and aluminum that took effect in June be addressed separately from a broader trade deal among the countries. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently said an agreement to revise the North American trade pact would allow negotiators to turn their focus to resolving the steel and aluminum standoff.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Construction Spending Edges Up, Led by a Surge in Public Works “The numbers: Construction expenditures were just 0.1% higher in August than in July, led once again by public-sector spending, the Commerce Department said Monday. What happened: The public sector carried all the weight in August: Spending in the sector was 2% higher than in July, while private-sector spending fell 0.5%. Housing was also weak: Residential construction fell 0.7% on the month, though it was 4.1% higher compared with August 2017.” (MarketWatch)
  3. These Retailers Will Be Closed on Thanksgiving “Phillip Dengler, co-owner of deals website, has for the past few years been compiling a list of retailers that will remain closed on Thanksgiving. Costco, Home Depot, Sam's Club and Nordstrom won't be open this Thanksgiving. Though they haven't announced their exact holiday hours just yet, Walmart, Target, Macy's and Kohl's will likely be open on that Thursday again this year, Dengler said. Here is a list of retailers planning to keep their doors shut on Thanksgiving Day, as compiled by” (CNBC)
  4. SF Builders Struggle to Keep Transit Center from Rising “Its neighbor, the Millennium Tower, might be sinking, but — get this — the new $2.2 billion Transbay Transit Center has the potential to go in the opposite direction. One of the main challenges the builders faced was keeping the three-block-long monster from rising. ‘It’s like a ship — we are tying it down,’ Transbay Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Mark Zabaneh explained at a news conference Wednesday when asked if the cracked beams that forced the new terminal’s closure might be the result of the building sinking.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  5. Co-Working Has Tripled its Share of Manhattan’s Office-Leasing Activity Over the Past Year: Report “With companies like WeWork, Knotel and Spaces gobbling up real estate to feed their voracious expansion plans, co-working and flexible-space tenants have tripled their share of Manhattan’s office-leasing activity over the past year. Co-working tenants inked 12 percent of the nearly 25 million square feet worth of leases signed in Manhattan through the first three quarters of the year, according to Avison Young. That’s up from 4 percent during the same time period last year.” (The Real Deal)
  6. Toys ‘R’ Us Owners Set Aside Millions of Dollars for Laid-Off Workers After Bankruptcy “Thousands of Toys R Us workers who lost their jobs earlier this year may soon be receiving severance payments, setting a new precedent for private equity-backed companies that file for bankruptcy. Bain Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts -- two of the three firms that bought Toys R Us in a 2005 leveraged buyout and loaded it with billions of dollars in debt before liquidating the chain in June -- are setting aside millions of dollars in a fund to be distributed to retail workers, according to a person involved in the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity.” (Washington Post)
  7. KKR Real Estate Closes $265M for Seattle Office, Multifamily Properties “Locally-based KKR Real Estate Finance Trust Inc. reports it has closed two floating senior loans totaling $265 million on commercial and multifamily properties in Seattle. The two deals increase its total loan commitments in the third quarter to approximately $681 million. KREF closed on a $172-million floating-rate senior loan secured by two class-A office buildings totaling 343,000 square feet in Seattle. The loan, which closed in September, has a two-year initial term with three one-year extension options, carries a coupon of LIBOR+3.7% and has an appraised loan-to-value of approximately 65%, KREF states.” (
  8. Re:Store, WeWork for Retail, Will Bring Instagram Brands to Storefronts “Selene Cruz created a popular line of bags designed to organize laptops and chargers, but she found that she couldn’t grow her company to the next stage without moving from online-only to old-fashioned retail. ‘It was a natural transition,’ Cruz says. ‘I wanted to get a storefront and my customers were asking for it, but unfortunately in San Francisco it is too expensive for me to even afford physical space on my own.’ Cruz’s frustration led her to found Re:Store, one of the first startups to secure funding through Female Founder Office Hours, a new mentorship program led by a group of women in venture capital” (Fortune)
  9. Manhattan Real Estate Is Now in a Year-Long Correction “What started as a blip is now a year-long slump for Manhattan real estate. And it shows no signs of turning around. Total real estate sales in Manhattan fell 11 percent in the third quarter compared with a year ago, marking the fourth straight quarter of double-digit declines, according to new data from Douglas Elliman Real Estate and Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants. It was also the first time since the financial crisis that resales of existing apartments fell for four straight quarters.” (CNBC)
  10. 10 Cities Where the Tech Sector Is Critical to Economy, CRE “The tech sector’s impact on local economies and commercial real estate is the subject of a new report from Cushman & Wakefield. The report Tech Cities 2.0 follows a similar report a year ago and groups major cities in North America in three groups – critical, key driver, and important – the local economy and CRE. ‘As tech companies continue to dominate headlines and grow, a key question is how this affects commercial real estate. Building upon our inaugural Tech Cities report from last year, Tech Cities 2.0 offers new data and a further in-depth analysis of the marketplace,’ Revathi Greenwood, Cushman & Wakefield’s Americas Head of Research, said.” (Mortgage Professional America)
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