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Nine Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Oct. 1, 2020)

The Fed confronts how to balance very low interest rates with the risk of asset bubbles, according to the Wall Street Journal. There’s a homelessness crisis brewing among elderly Americans, reports The New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Fed’s New Strategy Confronts Old Questions on Financial Trade-Offs “Federal Reserve promises to hold interest rates very low for a long time could pose a dilemma once the pandemic is over: how to deal with the risk of asset bubbles. Those concerns flared when Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan dissented from the central bank’s Sept. 16 decision to spell out those promises. The Fed committed to hold short-term rates near zero until inflation reaches 2% and is likely to stay somewhat above that level—something most officials don’t see happening in the next three years.” (Wall Street Journal)
  2. Disney to Lay Off 28,000 Employees as Coronavirus Slams its Theme Park Business “Prolonged closures at Disney’s California-based theme parks and limited attendance at its open parks has forced the company to lay off 28,000 employees across its parks, experiences and consumer products division, the company said. In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday, Josh D’Amaro, head of parks at Disney, detailed several ‘difficult decisions’ the company has had to make in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including ending its furlough of thousands of employees.” (CNBC)
  3. Elderly and Homeless: America’s Next Housing Crisis “Policymakers had decades to prepare for this momentous demographic shift, but the social safety net has only frayed under a relentless political pressure to slash funding for programs that senior citizens rely on to make ends meet, like subsidized housing, food and health care. “It’s the first thing fiscally conservative people want to cut,” says Wendy Johnson, executive director of Justa Center in Phoenix, the only daytime resource center in the state set up exclusively for older homeless adults.” (The New York Times)
  4. Here's What Tenants Are Paying at Florida’s Largest Mall “Here’s what retail tenants are paying at Turnberry Associates & Simon Property Group’s Aventura Mall, the largest shopping center in Florida.” (The Real Deal)
  5. Judge Approves $800M Las Vegas Shooting Settlement “A court on Wednesday approved a total of $800 million in payouts from casino company MGM Resorts International and its insurers to more than 4,400 relatives and victims of the Las Vegas Strip shooting that was the deadliest in recent U.S. history. The action makes final a deal announced earlier this month and settles dozens of lawsuits on the eve of the third anniversary of the shooting that killed 58 people and injured more than 850 at an open-air concert near the Mandalay Bay resort.” (Associated Press)
  6. How the Coronavirus Crisis Threatens to Set Back Women’s Careers “Seven months into a pandemic that has turned work and home life upside down, working women are confronting painful choices that threaten to unravel recent advances in gender equity—in pay, the professional ranks and in attaining leadership positions. Women have already lost a disproportionate number of jobs. That is partly because of a segregated workforce in many fields in which women make up more of the lower-income service and retail jobs that vanished as Covid-19 gripped the economy.” (Wall Street Journal)
  7. Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo Behind $305M Loan for Brookfield’s LA Office “In the darkness of an economic downturn and amid an office-killing work-from-home phenomenon, a sign of hope has emerged in the form of institutional confidence in Downtown Los Angeles.” (Commercial Observer)
  8. Walmart Unveils Digital-Focused Store Redesign “Walmart Inc. has unveiled a store redesign that incorporates use of the Walmart app, a new look and contactless checkout. The new design will be rolled out at 200 Supercenters by the end of this fiscal year, and at nearly 1,000 locations by next fiscal year. Walmart says it turned to the airport for inspiration for how to navigate a large group of people through its store. Product layout was also revamped, with a focus on sections like electronics and baby products.” (MarketWatch)
  9. Apartments with Privacy, Home Offices and Outdoor Space Command Higher Prices in New York City “The report from real estate market data firm UrbanDigs, commissioned by Forbes, shows that homes in New York that were described in listings using words and phrases such as ‘privacy,’ or that had home office or outdoor space, saw much less price flexibility, and also saw much higher median sale prices. For example, the median sale price of units with listings that include the word "privacy" nearly doubled, from $1.58 million in April 2019 to $2.9 million in July 2020.” (Forbes)
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