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Seven Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (June 29, 2020)

The New York Times examines how office building owners and managers are grappling with elevator usage amid COVID-19 safety measures as workers return. Real Money looks at how Microsoft’s decision to shutter its stores highlights how Apple has succeeded where its competitors have struggled. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Going Up? Not So Fast: Strict New Rules to Govern Elevator Culture “Change is coming to the daily vertical commute, as workers begin to return to tall office buildings in New York and other cities. The elevator ride, a previously unremarkable 90 or so seconds, has become a daunting puzzler in the calculus of how to bring people back to work safely after the coronavirus pandemic kept them home for months.” (New York Times)
  2. Microsoft's Store Closings Drive Home the Uniqueness of Apple's Retail Success “Apple Stores appear to have done quite a lot over the years to convince millions of consumers to buy a second, third or fourth Apple device -- whether immediately at a store, or later on through some other retail channel -- and in doing so get them more hooked on Apple's broader ecosystem. Likewise, with the help of Apple's investments in store features such as its Genius Bars and free Today at Apple teaching programs, the stores also seem to have done a lot to keep users of a particular Apple device loyal when it's time to upgrade.” (Real Money)
  3. Strip Mall REITs Face Uphill Climb As Tenants Struggle Amid COVID-19 “As purveyors of gyms, restaurants and other entertainment venues , REITs have taken a beating from the pandemic as online retailers expanded their reach—signaling what may be a longer-term shift in demand—and as uncertainty lingers, according to analysts Thomas Gorman and James Sullivan of BTIG’s REIT Research Team  in a recent report.” (GlobeSt.com)
  4. Black Homeownership Gets a Boost in Los Angeles: We'll "Rebuild Black Wall Street" “Music manager Daniel Carter started Buy Back the Block to fight gentrification and help South L.A. residents move from renting to buying as novel coronavirus and recession disproportionately affect Black neighborhoods.” (Hollywood Reporter)
  5. New York Real Estate Market Sees Steep Rise In Listings After State's Reopening “This week, after the city entered phase 2 of its reopening, contract activity increased 41%, reaching the highest numbers since the end of March, when the country shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak. New listings also increased 57% since last week, reaching a level not seen since March 2, according to data compiled by UrbanDigs.” (KSRO)
  6. The Long, Unhappy History of Working From Home “Even as Facebook, Shopify, Zillow, Twitter and many other companies are developing plans to let employees work remotely forever, the experiences of Mr. Laermer and IBM are a reminder that the history of telecommuting has been strewn with failure. The companies are barreling forward but run the risk of the same fate.” (New York Times)
  7. Can American skyscrapers survive the coronavirus? “One thing that coronavirus lockdowns showed employers over the past few months is that many Americans can work effectively from home -- and fairly efficiently, too. The question now is what that means for commercial real estate in big cities. Will companies return to high-rise offices in densely-packed metropolitan areas or trade the convenience of proximity for a break on soaring rent prices? (FoxBusiness)
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