10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (October 3, 2016)

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (October 3, 2016)


  1. US Treasury Awards $92M for Affordable Housing “The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) has granted 32 organizations roughly $91.5 million for the development of affordable housing and community facilities in low-income communities. Of the awardees, 23 are community development financial institutions and nine are non-profit structures. The recipients will collectively serve 37 states and the District of Columbia, while nine of them will invest 50 percent or more of their awards in non-metropolitan areas. The grants will impact thousands of families. “The program requires recipients to leverage $10 of housing and economic development investments for every $1 of federal funds, meaning the awards will support more than $900 million of investment in low-income communities,” Annie Donovan, CDFI Fund director, said in a prepared statement. The allocation represents the 2016 round of the Capital Magnet Fund, a federal financing program launched in 2010, which supports the preservation, rehabilitation, development or purchase of affordable housing for low-income communities, as well as related economic development and community service facilities such as day care centers, workforce development centers and healthcare clinics.” (MultiHousing News)
  2. Trump Tax Report Raises Questions in Real Estate, Casino CirclesA New York Times report on Donald Trump's tax returns is raising questions about how the Republican nominee was able to secure approval from New Jersey regulators to operate his casinos. An anonymous tipper mailed a Times reporter a few pages of Trump's 1995 state returns for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. According to the article, Trump reported losing $916 million in 1995. The Times reported that those losses were large enough that Trump could have avoided paying federal income taxes for about 18 years. Yet around the same time, Trump would have appeared before the New Jersey Casino Control Commission to ensure that he was financially sound enough to own and run casinos in the state. While Trump's casino holdings cratered around 1991, by 1995 he still was in control of three casino properties.” (WNYC News)
  3. Report: Bass Pro Shops emerges as top Cabela's bidder “A consortium led by privately held outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops alongside Goldman Sachs Group's private equity arm and Capital One Financial Corp. is favored to acquire rival outdoor chain Cabela’s, sources told Reuters. The group’s bid outpaces a competing offer from private equity firm Sycamore Partners, which is working with credit company Synchrony Financial. Financial details of the offer, which is expected to come sometime this week, aren’t known, but Reuters says it would push Cabela’s valuation beyond $4 billion. The deal will likely invite scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission on antitrust grounds, considering the dominance of both retailers in the outdoor and sporting goods space. Cabela's has been under pressure to sell since investor Elliott Management last year disclosed an 11% stake in the Sidney, NE-based company.” (Retail Dive)
  4. Trademark plans 82-acre mixed-use center in West Houston “What Trademark did north of Houston with Market Street Woodlands (above) it intends to do in West Houston with an 82-acre mixed-use town center at the junction of I-10 and Mason Road. ‘We believe this site is the next great opportunity in the country to develop a premier regional, mixed-use town center,” said Terry Montesi, CEO, Trademark Property Co. ‘There is a tremendous retail void in West Houston.’ Trademark will co-develop the as-yet-unnamed project in the town of Katy with Westside Ventures. The initial 60-acre phase will include restaurant, residential, hotel, and offices space along with retail.” (Chain Store Age)
  5. New Jersey Office Market Enjoys Hottest Quarter in Recent History “According to new research from Cushman & Wakefield, large corporate relocations -- driven mainly by state incentives and steady yet modest employment gains -- propelled Northern and Central New Jersey into one of their best quarters of office leasing in recent history as vacant space tightened markedly in some market segments and particularly for Class A space. ‘At 1.8 million square feet, the third quarter of 2016 boasted the highest amount of square footage absorbed in any one quarter in the Garden State in the past fifteen years,’ said Andrew Judd, Cushman & Wakefield's New Jersey Market Leader. ‘The last two quarters combined have produced slightly more than 2.8 million square feet (SF) of net occupancy gains, as vacancy has fallen by 140 basis points (BPS) since the first quarter. The demand for quality, Class A space throughout the market was evident during the third quarter, as all of the occupancy gains were concentrated within Class A product.’ The overall 3Q office vacancy rate (17.4%) was at its lowest point since year-end 2007, with Northern and Central New Jersey both having seen declines in available space since the close of 2014.” (World Property Journal)
  6. Incitec Pivot, Cornerstone Chemical Complete $1B Louisiana Plant Project “Incitec Pivot Ltd., the parent company of Dyno Nobel, alongside Cornerstone Chemical Co. have announced the opening of a $1 billion production plant at the 800-acre Fortier Manufacturing Complex in Waggaman, La. The production plant’s development project included the combined construction of Dyno Nobel’s $850 million ammonia plant and Cornerstone Chemical’s $175 million investment in upgrades and infrastructure. In order to help secure the project, the state offered a $3 million modernization tax credit and LED FastStart services. Construction on the plant started in August 2013 and ammonia production has already commenced at the facility. Dyno Nobel estimates construction employment to peak at 1,200 workers with 65 new direct jobs being created by the project. The development of the plant falls in line with Incitec Pivot’s plan to support its U.S. industrial business and external customers. The plant employs state-of-the-art technology and incorporates control technologies in order to produce the lowest air pollution of any ammonia facility to date.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  7. Water St. retail plan could be under waterThe city’s plan to allow landlords to transform underused public walkways on Water Street into retail spaces may have a wet blanket thrown on it. Building owners and bureaucrats are scratching their heads as to how retail spaces can be built to code according to federal flood regulations put in place after Superstorm Sandy, Crain’s reported. City law requires mostly glass fronts on retail stores. But on Water Street, which lies completely in a flood zone, those storefronts must be able to hold back floodwaters as high as 12 feet. ‘Until there are some solutions, whether or  not property owners will act on this rezoning is a question,’ said a spokesperson for the 
Downtown Alliance, which manages the lower Manhattan business improvement district.” (The Real Deal)
  8. The garment district explores its wild side with new art installation “In a pedestrian plaza in the garment district, a woman stopped to snap a photo on her iPhone of a vividly patterned steel bull towering over the pedestrian plaza. The sculpture is the creation of Taiwanese artist Hung Yi. A former restaurateur, Hung became a full-time artist at age 30. Now the 46-year-old sculptor’s beasts grace galleries, government buildings and Buddhist temples throughout Asia. The installation is part of an effort to increase foot traffic in the garment district. ‘People have thought of it as a single-industry neighborhood for years,’ said Garment District Alliance BID president Barbara Blair. The initiative supports a plan to raise the roadbed on Broadway, a $70 million project that will make the temporary public plazas between 34th and 41st streets permanent.” (Crain’s New York Business)
  9. Fort Walton Beach may annex land to get a Wal-Mart “About six weeks after Wal-Mart failed to get land in unincorporated Okaloosa County rezoned, Fort Walton Beach is pondering whether to annex the property. Michael Beedie, the city manager of Fort Walton Beach, told the Northwest Florida Daily News that he recently met with Wal-Mart officials and owners of the property to discuss a possible annexation of the unincorporated property. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman declined to comment but issued a written statement stating that the company is ‘currently exploring opportunities to better serve our customers in Fort Walton Beach,’ where Wal-Mart has operated for more than 30 years. The Okaloosa County Commission in August voted down Wal-Mart’s proposal to rezone the land from residential to general commercial, which would have allowed Wal-Mart to build a small store and a gas station there. The proposal drew a firestorm of criticism from residents of the Bayview neighborhood in Fort Walton Beach.” (The Real Deal Miami)
  10. What’s next for West LA’s big new development Martin Expo Town Center? “A big Westside project, the Martin Expo Town Center, won unanimous approval from the Los Angeles City Council last week, a decision that will usher in new retail, residential, and a 10-story office tower on the site of a car dealership at the northwest corner of Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive. The project has been tweaked and trimmed since we last saw it at the beginning of the year. The most notable reductions are on the retail and office front. Office space was shaved down from 200,000 square feet down to 150,000, and the grocery store, once 50,000 square feet, has been slimmed down to 35,000 square feet. (The project also includes 18,000 square feet of restaurant space and 46,000 square feet for general retail use.) The town center has also gained a few significant add-ons, namely an affordable housing component that will set aside 20 percent of the project’s 516 apartments for less-than-market rate rents. (Fifteen percent will be "workforce housing," where occupants median income can't exceed 150 percent of the area median income, and five percent will be for very low-income tenants.)”  (Los Angeles Curbed)
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