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Eight Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Dec. 30, 2020)

The New York Legislature passed one of the most comprehensive anti-eviction laws in U.S. this week, reports The New York Times. With the start of vaccine distribution, businesses and office building owners turn more optimistic about a real return to the office in late spring and summer of 2021, according to the Wall Street Journal. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. New York Bans Most Evictions as Tenants Struggle to Pay Rent “The New York Legislature on Monday overwhelmingly passed one of the most comprehensive anti-eviction laws in the nation, as the state contends with high levels of unemployment caused by a pandemic that has taken more than 330,000 lives nationwide. Tenants and advocacy groups have been dreading the end-of-year expiration of eviction bans that have kept people in their homes even as they fell months behind in their rent. Under the new measure, landlords will be barred from evicting most tenants for at least another 60 days in almost all cases.” (The New York Times)
  2. GSEs Extend Multifamily Forbearance Program “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have extended their COVID-19 mortgage forbearance programs for multifamily landlords through March 31, 2021, providing more flexibility for struggling property owners as well as protections for renters at a time of continuing stress for the industry. The programs were due to expire Thursday, December 31, before the extensions announced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) last week.” (Multi-Housing News)
  3. COVID-19 Vaccine Outlook Prompts Businesses to Dust Off Return-to-Office Plans “With tens of thousands of vaccines being issued daily, some companies are beginning to move toward implementing return-to-office plans. For example, in New York, 25 new tenants looking for space entered the office market per week in the first two weeks of December, compared with 20 a week in November, according to data firm VTS. The December activity is still far below what it would be in a normal year. But the increase was surprising given the holidays and the surge in new Covid-19 cases.” (Wall Street Journal)
  4. Retailer’s Tumultuous Year Began Before the Pandemic “The challenges faced by working parents, including the cost and availability of basic child care during the pandemic, were keenly felt by women working at stores from CVS to Bloomingdale’s. And there were questions around the treatment of workers, as retailers and their backers treated employees shoddily during bankruptcies or failed to offer hazard pay or adequate notifications about workplace Covid-19 outbreaks.” (The New York Times)
  5. Rare Small Business Win in Insurer Lawsuits Keeps Hope Alive for Payouts “Chef Matthew Kelly is one of the few restaurateurs who has fought property insurers over pandemic business restrictions and won. His establishments are part of a group of restaurants that a North Carolina state court sided with this fall. The insurer has appealed the decision, which found the plaintiffs were entitled to payouts under business-interruption coverage. ‘I’m excited that we’ve made it this far, but that excitement and the win does not translate into relief until the job is completed,’ Mr. Kelly said.” (Wall Street Journal)
  6. Five Strategies for Commercial Real Estate Under the Biden Administration “After four years with an administration focused on aims other than increased environmental stability, the Biden administration's arrival brings ample, profitable opportunity for sustainability-minded commercial real estate (CRE) owners, executives and investors.” (Forbes Real Estate Council)
  7. Done Deal: Ascena Retail Sells Ann Taylor, Other Brands to Sycamore “Ascena Retail Group has completed the $540 million sale of Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant and Lou & Grey to Premium Apparel LLC, an affiliate of private equity firm Sycamore Partners. Ascena, which filed for bankruptcy in July, said that Sycamore has committed to ‘retaining a substantial portion of the retail stores and associates affiliated with these brands.’” (Chain Store Age)
  8. Yardi Relaunches Commercial Listing Service CommercialSearch.com “Yardi continues to expand its suite of property listing and management services with the relaunch of CommercialSearch.com, an intuitive commercial property listing platform. The relaunch follows a complete redesign of the site to provide tenants with a more streamlined approach to commercial listings and contacting brokers.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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