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13 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Dec. 17, 2020)

The Commerce Department reported that retail sales fell a seasonally adjusted 1.1 percent in November and October sales were revised down to a decline of 0.1 percent. Bisnow analyzed whether or not the news of recent corporate moves to Miami are harbingers of a larger trend. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. U.S. Shoppers Pull Back Spending at Start of Holiday Season “U.S. retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, restaurants and online, dropped a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in November from the prior month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. October sales were revised to a decline of 0.1% from an earlier estimate of a 0.3% increase. Sales were up by 4.1% in November when compared with the same month a year ago.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. With JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, Miami Could Become 'Wall Street South' “In the past year or three, the migration of high-profile business to Miami, and to Florida more broadly, has gained steam. There's no income tax and the politics are perceived as business-friendly. But the state struggles to fund education, environmental protections and mass transit. There's also climate change, sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion to consider.” (Bisnow)
  3. Fed to Maintain Bond Buys Until ‘Substantial’ Economy Gains Seen “The Federal Reserve strengthened its commitment to support the U.S. economy, promising to maintain its massive asset purchase program until it sees “substantial further progress” in employment and inflation.” (Bloomberg)
  4. America’s biggest companies are flourishing during the pandemic and putting thousands of people out of work “With few exceptions, big businesses are having a very different year from most of the country. Between April and September, one of the most tumultuous economic stretches in modern history, 45 of the 50 most valuable publicly traded U.S. companies turned a profit, a Washington Post analysis found. Despite their success, at least 27 of the 50 largest firms held layoffs this year, collectively cutting more than 100,000 workers, The Post found.” (Washington Post)
  5. $7 trillion asset manager BlackRock makes climate change central to its investment strategy for 2021 “Among the changes being implemented in 2021, BlackRock said it expects companies to disclose a plan for transitioning to a lower carbon economy, report key stakeholders and business interests, and improve racial and gender diversity on large corporate boards. Indeed, with assets under management close to $7.81 trillion as of the third quarter, BlackRock has significant influence in proxy battles.” (CNBC)
  6. Wall Street Sees Cold, Hard Cash in Vaccine Storage “Private equity firms are pouring money into small companies that can store and help transport fragile coronavirus vaccines at required Antarctic temperatures. “There’s not a day that goes by” that a potential investor doesn’t call, Dusty Tenney, the C.E.O. of Stirling Ultracold, told Kate.” (The New York Times)
  7. Welltower, Wafra Form $550M Medical Office JV “The portfolio spans several states including Texas, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and California. The properties are 97 percent affiliated with health systems. Further details about the assets were not disclosed.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  8. Swiss running shoe brand On opens first store in NYC “A Swiss sneaker brand that counts Roger Federer among its investors is opening its first store ever on Wednesday in lower Manhattan. On, whose running shoes sell for about $150 to $200 a pair, has made its shoes available in Nordstrom, REI, JackRabbit and other high-end specialty stores for a decade.” (New York Post)
  9. Strict Covid-19 Restrictions Prompt Defiance and Anger in California “The latest clampdown affects three of five regions in which officials have divided the state: Southern California, the Central Valley and greater Sacramento. Bay Area counties decided to implement identical restrictions on their own. Only largely rural Northern California, which contains 1.7% of the state’s 40 million people, is unaffected.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  10. The Importance of Building Gender Diversity in CRE “Multiple studies show a correlation between women leaders—C-suite and board members—and organizational outcomes like greater profits, more innovation and increased productivity. By sharing my experiences forged over the years in a male-dominated industry, it is my hope that this will serve as an intrusive example as well as support a new generation of women looking to get into and thrive in this growing industry.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  11. Modular Construction Meets Changing Needs in the Pandemic “Behind the push has been an effort to address the health concerns of businesses and schools trying to operate safely. Earlier this year, for example, modular hospitals were built in Wuhan, China, in less than two weeks.” (The New York Times)
  12. U.S. Bankruptcy Tracker: Real Estate Dominates Filings Flurry “Commercial real estate and associated industries are dogged by curtailed cash flow and having a lot of debt pledged against assets, according to Jeff Robinson, who runs the distressed and special situations group at Bain Capital Credit.” (Bloomberg)
  13. Sweetgreen will pilot a drive-in restaurant as part of suburban push “Salad restaurant chain Sweetgreen will open its first location with a drive-thru lane and ordering from parking spots next year as it expands beyond cities into suburban America.” (CNBC)
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