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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (October 25, 2017)

The Wall Street Journal found that buildings across the United States have combustible-core panels like those that burned in the deadly fire at Grenfell Tower in London this summer. New York City’s iconic Lord & Taylor building on Fifth Avenue will soon become WeWork’s headquarters, reports The New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Buildings Across U.S. Are Wrapped in Same Panels That Fueled Deadly London Fire “A high school in Alaska, a National Football League stadium, a Baltimore high-rise hotel and a Dallas airport terminal are among thousands of structures world-wide covered in combustible-core panels similar to those that burned in June’s deadly London fire, The Wall Street Journal found.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Lord & Taylor Building, Icon of New York Retail, Will Become WeWork Headquarters “From the moment its doors opened more than a century ago, the Lord & Taylor building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan has stood as a monument to old-school retail. Complete with a grand entrance arch and copper cornice, the 676,000-square-foot store is a temple of urban commerce — and was named a New York City landmark a decade ago. But now, the forces buffeting the retail industry are diminishing Lord & Taylor’s presence as a New York institution. The company that owns the department store chain, Hudson’s Bay, said Tuesday that it was selling off the flagship store to WeWork, a seven-year-old start-up whose office-sharing model is helping to reinvent the concept of work space.” (The New York Times)
  3. Amazon Rivals Turn to Legal Fine Print to Stem Whole Foods Strategy “Whole Foods Market met a new foe this summer during talks to lease a top retail space in a San Francisco mall: the Target next door.” (Reuters)
  4. Nordstrom Thinks Half Its Business Could Be Online Within 5 Years “Nordstrom’s big investments in e-commerce in the last two decades have paid off handsomely, making the upscale department store a leader in the digital realm among brick-and-mortar retailers.” (Fortune)
  5. Down and Out in DC: What Can Be Done About Diplomatic Dumps? “The large building at the corner of 22nd and R streets in downtown Washington, DC, sticks out like a wart in the otherwise upscale neighborhood. Plywood covers the windows, sleeping bags and empty bottles litter the shuttered doorways and head-high weeds sprout through the asphalt of the empty fenced-off parking lot. For a solid decade, neighbors and local political leaders complained bitterly about the condition of the former Pakistani consulate. But the city remained powerless to do anything as long as the building was classified by the State Department as a diplomatic property.” (The Associated Press)
  6. Backlog in EB-5 Immigration Program Creates Cash Hoard for Property Developers “A backlog in the controversial EB-5 immigration program, which enables foreigners who invest in the U.S. to get green cards, is making billions of dollars of new money available for investments in real estate and other businesses.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  7. As Amazon Moves In, Demand for Warehouse Space Climbs “For the modest warehouse, this is a golden age. Boxy, unadorned and often overlooked, these properties are suddenly in hot demand in many parts of the country, thanks in part to a rise in e-commerce as consumer shopping habits move online. Retailers like Amazon and Walmart are snapping up space once reserved for makers of office furniture and home flooring.” (The New York Times)
  8. Why Multifamily Borrowers Should Pay Extra Attention to Interest Rate Hikes “A third interest rate hike this year is widely expected by the end of 2017, with the U.S. economy looking strong despite unusually low inflation. Let’s take a look at the potential effects of continued rate hikes on commercial real estate financing, particularly on multifamily borrowers.” (Forbes)
  9. Glass-Fronted Retail and Office Building Going Up in Midtown “A petite glass-fronted retail and office building is rising just south of Rockefeller Center, mid-block at 12 W. 48th DNA Development drafted Ennead Architects – the former Polshek Partnership – to design a jewel box with an angled, all-glass façade to provide visibility from both Rockefeller Center and Fifth Avenue just steps away.” (New York Post)
  10. Job Growth Keeps Market Steady in Miami “The city’s multifamily market is fully packed. Although enjoying solid fundamentals, one of the area’s biggest challenges is the substantial amount of new supply. This has put a damper on rent growth, which started decelerating in late 2014, going from a 6.1 percent increase to 2.0 percent as of August 2017.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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