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Eight Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (November 14, 2019)

Apple is the latest tech giant to commit billions toward affordable housing in the Bay Area, reports MarketWatch. The New York Times looks at how Airbnb is marketing itself. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Companies Cut Back, But Consumers Party On, Driving the Economy “Businesses and households swim in the same economic soup and their outlooks — gloomy or bright — are usually in sync. But in recent months, the two seem to occupy opposite ends of a teeter-totter, with consumers continuing to spend while business owners and managers are chastened by doubt and uncertainty. This curious divergence has allowed the economic expansion to extend its record run. The question is how long it can continue.” (The New York Times)
  2. Apple Commits $2.5 Billion Toward Building Affordable Housing in San Francisco Area “Apple Inc. said Monday it has committed $2.5 billion to help combat what the technology giant called the "housing availability and affordability crisis" in California, as nearly 30,000 people left San Francisco between April and June and homeownership in the Bay Area is at a 7-year low. Apple said it has committed $1 billion to an affordable housing investment fund, to provide the state and other with a line of credit to develop new very low- to moderate-income housing.” (MarketWatch)
  3. Why New York City’s Tech Boom Will Turn It into a Ghost Town “Amazon may have backed out of their plan to build their ‘second headquarters’ in Queens after local objections, but according to a survey by analyst firm KPMG in March, 60 percent of tech-industry leaders still believe New York will surpass Silicon Valley as the country’s center of technology innovation. Already, Google is growing its New York City presence with a new $1 billion Hudson Square campus, scheduled to open in 2020 — with additional space planned for 2022.” (New York Post)
  4. Rent Control: The Dirtiest Words in Real Estate Investing “Roaring Rents: Apartment REITs have delivered a strong 2019 as rent growth reaccelerated this summer to the highest rate since 2016. Occupancy remains near record-highs while turnover is at record-lows. Robust employment and wage gains have powered growth in both renting and owning household formations. Demographics, however, suggest the next decade will be tougher than the last for apartment REITs.” (Seeking Alpha)
  5. Why Barbie, a Blimp and a Wienermobile Are Posting on Airbnb “It was a warm August evening in Evanston, Ill., just north of Chicago, when the Wienermobile rolled out the red carpet for a sleepover. Actually, the carpet was green, and not so much carpet as artificial turf. Inside the Wienermobile, the meat brand Oscar Mayer’s signature marketing machine, there was a pullout bed and a mini fridge. There were hot dog sunglasses, hot dog onesies and actual hot dogs with all the accouterments. (But no ketchup: Chicago doesn’t really do hot dogs with ketchup. It’s a thing.)” (The New York Times)
  6. Stonestown Galleria’s Next Makeover: Housing on its Sprawling SF Site “The transformation under way at San Francisco’s Stonestown Galleria is obvious these days. Gone are the bookend department store anchors, Macy’s and Nordstrom. A new Whole Foods is under construction, along with a Sports Basement, an expanded Target and an 11-screen Regal movie theater. But mall owner Brookfield Properties doesn’t intend to rest after the current crop of businesses opens. Instead, Brookfield sees the new wave of retailers and entertainment venues as a prelude to a much bigger and more ambitious metamorphosis that would include a substantial number of new homes.’ (San Francisco Chronicle)
  7. Why ‘Billionaire’ Real Estate Mogul Harry Macklowe Is Not Really a Billionaire “In 2007, Harry Macklowe owned prime Manhattan real estate, including the General Motors Building on the edge of Central Park and the iconic, Steve Jobs-designed glass cube Apple store out front. He had just acquire seven more New York City skyscrapers in a $7 billion mega-deal. He also had a mountain of debt tall enough to make Donald Trump blush.” (Forbes)
  8. Cannabis Industry Jargon Tangles Real Estate and Insurance Ops “Real estate operators and insurers are trying to keep up with the quickly evolving cannabis industry as quickly as bills stack in congress for national legalization of cannabis, as well as changes to jargon crucial to operating their businesses compliantly, according to panelists on a Claims Magazine and webinar looking at the insurance and real estate implications of cannabis-touching companies, ‘Legalized Cannabis is Big Business.’” (
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