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11 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Dec. 16, 2020)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plans to leave the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac privatization decision up to the Biden administration, reports the Wall Street Journal. Looming evictions disproportionately threaten families of color, according to Politico. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Trapped at Home in the Pandemic with Mold and a Leaky Roof “The pandemic has trapped many poor New Yorkers in miserable living conditions in the city’s public housing system, the largest in the nation with 400,000 tenants, most of whom are people of color. While better-off families have upgraded their homes with sleek new kitchens, work studios and pricey Peloton bikes to isolate in relative comfort, many public housing tenants have been forced to cope with mold, broken elevators and rundown playgrounds. Some have even been stuck at home with no heat or cooking gas.” (The New York Times)
  2. Fannie, Freddie Privatization Decisions Likely to Be Left to Biden Administration “Joe Biden’s election victory has likely ended the Trump administration’s efforts to return Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private hands. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he is unlikely to support a legal move—called a consent order—to end the government conservatorships of the mortgage-finance companies before President Trump leaves office. His signoff would be required for any change in their legal status.” (Wall Street Journal)
  3. Apartment REIT CEO Says Political Rhetoric Can Influence Rent Collection “As the owner of a large portfolio of apartments across the country, Ric Campo, Chairman of the Board and CEO of apartment REIT Camden, has good visibility into where residents are paying rent and where they aren’t.” (
  4. Marriott Lays Off Hundreds of Workers at Times Square Hotel “Marriott International Inc. is permanently laying off 850 employees from its hotel in Times Square, another sign that the hotel industry in New York City remains significantly hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic. Marriott recently told the workers that they will be let go March 12, nearly a year after more than 1,200 employees at the New York Marriott Marquis were furloughed as rising coronavirus infections prompted the closure of nonessential businesses and tourist spots. Those who remain on staff are either working or are expected to return to work soon, a Marriott spokeswoman said.” (Wall Street Journal)
  5. ‘The Most Lopsided Economic Event Imaginable’: Wave of Evictions Threatens Black, Latino Tenants “Black and Latino people are twice as likely to rent as white people, so a wave of evictions would hit them hardest, adding to the unequal toll of a pandemic that is already ravaging the health and finances of minority communities. ‘The majority of the up to 17 million households at risk of losing their homes this winter are comprised of people of color,’ said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.” (Politico)
  6. Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon Says 90% of Small Businesses Have Exhausted PPP Funds “Goldman has recently surveyed participants of its 10,000 Small Businesses program, a decade-long effort that gives entrepreneurs access to training and capital, Solomon said. Small business owners have laid off workers and stopped taking salaries to stay afloat, Solomon said.’ (CNBC)
  7. It's Going to be a Make-or-Break Holiday Season for These Retailers “Retailers found in shopping malls have suffered some of the greatest hardships. Weeks of store closures resulted in millions of dollars in lost sales. Some skipped rent payments or requested deferrals, and that walloped mall owners. Seven publicly traded retail landlords, including Simon Property Group, were called out in a report last week by S&P Global as facing exceptional risks heading into the winter. And with Christmas right around the corner, when procrastinating shoppers typically make a last-minute dash to the mall, more shutdowns loom with Covid cases on the rise. If that happens in a significant way, the setback could rob struggling retailers of their shot at redemption.” (CNBC)
  8. Fleeing New Yorkers Resulted in an Estimated $34 Billion in Lost Income—Study “Millions of people have moved out of New York City during the pandemic, but at the same time, millions of others with lower incomes have taken their place, according to a study released on Tuesday. All told, a net 70,000 people left the metropolitan region this year, resulting in roughly $34 billion in lost income, according to estimates from Unacast, a location analytics company.” (Reuters)
  9. California ‘Ghost Mall’ to be Redeveloped by Casino Next Door “A mall in Elk Grove, Calif., whose completion was stalled by the 2008 recession and then left vacant again when new owner Howard Hughes Corp. couldn’t make a go of it is getting a third roll of the dice. The Elk Grove Mall in this town south of Sacramento has been purchased by Boyd Gaming, a Las Vegas-based company affiliated with the Wilton Rancheria Casino set to open on a site next to the mall in 2021.” (Chain Store Age)
  10. What to Make of Stephen Ross Betting $1M on Mayor’s Race “After 12 years of loving Michael Bloomberg and seven despising Bill de Blasio, titans of real estate are donating money to elect a pro-business mayor.” (The Real Deal)
  11. Hines Pays $129M for Amazon Fulfillment Center “Hines has acquired a 1,262,294-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Schertz, Texas. The new owner spent $129.2 million for the building, according to the company’s SEC filings. The sale is the company’s fourth global logistics purchase this year. The Class A warehouse last traded in 2016, when Circle Industrial acquired the property, CommercialEdge data shows.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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