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Nine Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Nov. 20, 2020)

Washington lawmakers are looking at an infrastructure improvement plan again, reports the Wall Street Journal. The San Diego City Council approved a $3 billion mixed-use development proposed by Hines, according to Connect Commercial Real Estate. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Lawmakers Set to Give Infrastructure a Fresh Look in 2021 “Facing the possibility of another two years of divided government, Democrats and Republicans are eyeing a familiar topic as a possible area of bipartisan compromise under the Biden administration: infrastructure. Efforts to craft a major bill repeatedly fell apart during the Trump administration, and disagreements on the scope of the legislation and how to pay for it will persist under a new president. But a fresh push from the next White House could break the logjam, even if control of the House and Senate continues to be split between the two parties.” (Wall Street Journal)
  2. Hines’ $3B Riverwalk San Diego Receives Unanimous City Council Approval “Houston-based Hines received unanimous San Diego City Council approval on its $3-billion Riverwalk San Diego development. The project will transform the existing Riverwalk Golf Club in western Mission Valley into a 200-acre, live-work-play transit-oriented neighborhood. Riverwalk will feature 4,300 homes, 152,000-square-feet of neighborhood-serving retail and one million-square-feet of office space. The project is expected to break ground in Q2 2021.” (Connect Commercial Real Estate)
  3. Target Bets on Small City Stores Despite People Fleeing to the Suburbs “Coronavirus may have driven people to move out of dense urban markets like New York, but don’t expect Target to say goodbye to cities. ‘We remain really bullish on the small-format stores and the opportunity in front of us there,’ said Target’s chief operating officer John Mulligan on a conference call Wednesday, when the retailer reported a 21% jump in third-quarter comparable sales. ‘Dense urban neighborhoods have continued to perform very well.’” (Forbes)
  4. Macy’s CEO to States: Don’t Close Us Down Again “Macy’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Gennette said in an interview Thursday that the company has demonstrated it can operate its stores—which are large and can accommodate social distancing—safely during the pandemic. The company, along with retail trade groups, has been lobbying state and local officials to ensure its stores can remain open as Covid-19 cases spike. ‘We hope we don’t get locked into a definition again of essential or nonessential,’ Mr. Gennette said.” (Wall Street Journal)
  5. Virus Cases Rise, But Hazard Pay for Retail Workers Doesn’t “The grocery chain Kroger offered raises at the start of the pandemic and bonuses through mid-June, but those have ended. Employees nationwide have staged protests outside stores asking Kroger to reinstate the pay, especially given its booming business — sales are soaring, and it recently said its 2021 business results ‘will be higher than we would have expected prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.’” (The New York Times)
  6. Amazon Extends NYC Leasing Streak with East New York Deal “Amazon has leased 211,000 square feet of newly developed warehouse space in East New York, Brooklyn, to use as a delivery center. The center, at 12555 Flatlands Avenue, spans two warehouses and will serve as a last-mile depot, Adam Gordon, president and managing partner of landlord Wildflower Ltd. confirmed. Wildflower purchased two neighboring warehouses, a former PepsiCo distribution center at 12555 Flatlands Avenue, and a second warehouse at 12595 Flatlands Avenue, for $25.3 million in 2019, according to property records.” (Commercial Observer)
  7. Rockefeller Center Intros Six-Month Lease Deals for Retailers “Rock Center operator Tishman Speyer has introduced a new retail real estate initiative it calls RC Capsule, a six-month leasing program for retailers that it promotes as ‘bringing together the best of retail, real estate, and technology.’ Tishman’s aim is to use available space to give omnichannel retailers the opportunity to test their concepts in one of the nation’s most highly trafficked urban retail districts—minus the encumberment of a long-term lease.” (Chain Store Age)
  8. Cresa’s Tom Birnbach Names President as Part of Larger Restructuring “Tom Birnbach has been named president at Cresa, the tenant representation firm he helped to found about three decades ago. The new job will give him responsibility over a much wider swath of Cresa's business.” (Washington Business Journal)
  9. NYC Mayor Says to Brace for End of Indoor Dining in the Next Week or Two “NYC restaurants are likely to face more operating restrictions very soon, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned during a press conference on Thursday. Based on the current rise of positive COVID-19 case counts in the city, de Blasio said that he expects the entire city to be designated as an orange zone in as soon as “a week or two.” The designation would push all of the city’s restaurants back to outdoor dining-only, with a maximum of four customers per table, plus takeout and delivery.” (Eater New York)
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