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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (September 9, 2019)

WeWork may be facing another cut in its valuation, reports the Wall Street Journal. New York is the least affordable state to live in for retirees, according to the New York Post. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. WeWork Parent Weighs Further Valuation Cut “WeWork’s parent is eyeing a valuation for its initial public offering that could fall below $20 billion as some existing investors push the workspace company to shelve the planned offering, people familiar with the matter said. Despite plans to begin a roadshow to market the shares to new investors as early as Monday, We Co. and its underwriters are planning to hold meetings this week among themselves and with investors to figure out what changes may be needed to help garner enough demand for an IPO, the people said.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. New York Is the Least Affordable State for Retirees: Survey “It’s not good to grow old in the Empire State — unless you have significant private savings, that is. That’s because New York, according to several surveys, is virtually the most expensive retirement state. ‘New York, the second-worst state to retire, comes last in affordability, the study’s most important metric,’ according to a Bankrate.com survey that ranked states on factors including affordability, weather, wellness, culture and crime rate.” (New York Post)
  3. An Illegal Gas Line Killed 2 People. Should the Landlord Go to Prison? “The explosion in March 2015 shattered an East Village block, engulfing two buildings in flames that quickly spread. Smoke billowed above the skyline. Video footage at the scene captured a man, his face bloodied, as he collapsed onto the sidewalk. After the fire was over, the devastation was clear: Two young men, a busboy at a sushi restaurant and a man eating there on a date, were killed. Thirteen people were injured.” (The New York Times)
  4. Mnuchin Expects Treasury, FHFA Pact Soon to Let Fannie, Freddie Begin to Retain Their Earnings “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday he expects an agreement soon to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin retaining their earnings, one of the first steps in the administration’s plan to return the mortgage-finance companies to private hands. The Treasury has been in negotiations with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie and Freddie’s regulator, on an agreement, which would represent ‘a significant increase in capital and a step in the right direction to us ultimately raising third-party capital,’ Mr. Mnuchin said in an interview on Fox Business Network.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  5. Five Bloodbaths That Rocked Foreign Investors “A growing list of foreign real estate investors, after pouring billions of dollars into major New York City real estate purchases in recent years, have found themselves in a financial predicament. And foreign firms have placed such large bets on the city's property market that, even if their losses hem closer to the modest market-wide drop, it adds up to huge sums of lost cash.” (Crain’s New York Business)
  6. It’s Tough Being a Young Skyscraper in New York “The MetLife building was born with an inferiority complex. Even before construction was completed in March 1963, critics called it ugly and unwanted. It was deemed an overgrown, traffic-snarling invader on an already teeming East 42nd Street. Even worse, the tower wasn’t nearly the tallest one in New York, and the records it set smacked of desperation: Biggest air conditioning system! Highest helicopter landing pad!” (The New York Times)
  7. Retail Discounter Fred’s Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, to Close All its Stores “Discount retailer Fred’s announced Monday it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and closing all of its stores. The company said liquidation sales at retail locations will be completed over the next 60 days. The bankruptcy is a sign that cost-cutting measures such as the shuttering of hundreds of unprofitable stores and inventory clearance sales didn’t work.” (CNBC)
  8. The Best Affordable Places to Live in Texas “Affordable housing is plentiful in Texas, which explains, in part, why Texas cities are commonly identified as some of the most affordable places to live in the country. But Texas isn’t merely inexpensive, it’s also known for the economic and leisure opportunities available to residents, a big reason why its municipalities are often considered among the best affordable places to live in the U.S., as is the case with Round Rock, fourth on Livability’s 2016 list of best affordable places to live.” (MarketWatch)
  9. Simon Property Group Is Firing on All Cylinders “Poor sentiment in the mall/retail REIT space has reached paranoia levels and share prices have collapsed across the board. As a result, dividend yields are hovering around record-high levels and valuations are extremely depressed, well below intrinsic value. This creates a unique buying opportunity, especially for those who believe physical retail has a future. We are all well aware of the bear thesis regarding malls and physical retail in general, which in many cases is based on generalizations and is somewhat binary.” (Seeking Alpha)
  10. NYC Architects Tapped for $313M Detroit Adaptive Reuse “Bedrock has tapped ODA New York to serve as design architect for its adaptive reuse of the Book Tower in downtown Detroit. ODA will spearhead the redevelopment of the approximately 487,000-square-foot historic property into a mixed-use destination. The 38-story Book Tower and Book Building property stand linked together as one with the address of 1249-1265 Washington Blvd.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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