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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (September 12, 2019)

Blackstone just closed its largest ever real estate fund, reports the Wall Street Journal. California has approved statewide rent control, according to The New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Forever 21 Plans to File for Bankruptcy as Early as Sunday “Retail chain Forever 21 Inc. is planning to file for bankruptcy as early as Sunday after facing a cash crunch for months, according to people familiar with the matter. The company has been searching for a new loan for months to stave off bankruptcy, the people said, who said the company would file in Delaware. Forever 21 is planning to shut down some of its more than 700 stores in bankruptcy, one of the people said.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. California Approves Statewide Rent Control to Ease Housing Crisis “California lawmakers approved a statewide rent cap on Wednesday covering millions of tenants, the biggest step yet in a surge of initiatives to address an affordable-housing crunch nationwide. The bill limits annual rent increases to 5 percent after inflation and offers new barriers to eviction, providing a bit of housing security in a state with the nation’s highest housing prices and a swelling homeless population.” (The New York Times)
  3. 7 of the Best Ways to Invest in Real Estate “Real estate is one of the most common investment classes and can provide an important source of portfolio diversification during times of economic turbulence. In the past, investing in real estate was a difficult, costly and risky experience. However, the rise of real estate investment trusts has made diversified real estate investments as easy as buying shares of a stock.” (U.S. News & World Report)
  4. Blackstone Closes Largest-Ever Real Estate Fund at $20.5B, Firm Says “Blackstone Group LP has finished raising the largest commercial real-estate fund ever, with $20.5 billion of commitments despite an increasingly tough commercial property market. The giant investment firm, which had $153.6 billion in real-estate assets under management at the end of the second quarter, has been the world’s leading real-estate fundraiser. Before it closed the most recent global fund, Blackstone accounted for five of the top 10 largest real-estate funds ever raised, according to data firm Preqin. Its previous real-estate fund, which closed in 2015, raised $15.8 billion, which was the record until now.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  5. GameStop to Close Up to 200 Stores by Year’s End “GameStop is planning to close between 180 and 200 underperforming stores by the end of its fiscal year. The announcement Tuesday came after the company posted dismal fiscal second quarter earnings after the bell that missed analysts’ expectations and slashed its same-store sales forecast for the year. It said it now expects same-store sales to fall in the low teens, compared with previous expectations of a decrease between 5% and 10%.” (CNBC)
  6. CalPERS Terminates Real Estate Partner in Development Plan “A $550 million plan by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to build the tallest office building in Sacramento has endured a major setback with an announcement by the pension plan that it has terminated real estate firm, CIM, its development partner. ‘We have ended our relationship with CIM on the 301 Capitol Mall project,’ said CalPERS spokeswoman Megan White in an emailed statement CIO Tuesday night. CIM spokesman Bill Mendel said in another mailed statement to CIO that ‘CalPERS recently informed CIM of its intention to make changes regarding the project.’” (Chief Investment Officer)
  7. Industry City Rezoning Plan Poised to Proceed “Brooklyn Councilman Carlos Menchaca has reached a deal with Industry City that will let the owners of the sprawling waterfront property in Sunset Park begin a process to rezone it, a source said. A partnership of landlords that controls the 35-acre, 16-building property, including Jamestown, Belvedere Capital and Angelo Gordon, agreed to set aside hundreds of thousands of square feet at the complex for manufacturing, create a vocational school, help beautify the surrounding streetscape and make other concessions to allow the rezoning to proceed.” (Crain’s New York Business)
  8. What Rising Rates Mean for Real Estate Investors “There's no denying that rentals are in high demand. Investors see the potential opportunity for good returns as rental rates climb and vacancy stays low. But will the trend continue? Keep reading to learn how rising rents affect real estate investors and what to consider before buying rental properties in today’s market. The U.S. economy has been recovering and expanding for over a decade, bringing high rental demand and rates with it. As of the second quarter of 2019, the national rental vacancy rate was at 6.8% with the median rental hovering around $1,500 per month.” (Motley Fool)
  9. Nursing Homes Are a Breeding Ground for a Fatal Fungus “Experts said the problem is pronounced in the United States, given changing economics that push high-risk patients out of hospitals and into skilled nursing homes. The facilities are reimbursed at a higher rate to care for these patients, they said, providing an economic incentive for poorly staffed or equipped facilities to care for vulnerable patients.” (The New York Times)
  10. Hollywood Races for Commercial Real Estate Spaces “There’s no room in Hollywood. Unprecedented low vacancy rates in the single digits equals a competitive race from soundstages to Class A creative office space from the Valley to the Pacific. ‘The occupancy around town is at 97%, an all-time record,’ says Jones Lang LaSalle’s Carl Muhlstein, an international director with the real estate and investment management services company. The veteran real-estate pro helped sign Viacom into Kilroy Realty’s Columbia Square and Netflix to Kilroy Realty’s ON Vine, the city block-sized, mixed use complex, with 16,500 square-feet of purpose-built studio and production space, under construction just south of Sunset Boulevard between Vine Street and Cahuenga Boulevard.” (Variety)
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