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Seven Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (May 2, 2020)

May might bring more missed rents for apartment landlords as unemployed Americans run out of funds and some tenants’ rights groups call on the government to cancel rent, according to The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Kimco plans to introduce curbside pickup at its shopping centers throughout the country, reports Chain Store Age. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Rent Is Due Today, But Many Tenants Can’t—or Won’t—Pay “April rent payments turned out better than expected, landlord representatives said. With the economy still strong in the first half of March—before the worst hit from the coronavirus pandemic—about 9 in 10 renters in professionally managed apartments paid at least some of their April rent, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council, a landlord trade group. Now, rent for May is coming due after millions of Americans have been unemployed for weeks.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. #CancelRent Is New Rallying Cry for Tenants. Landlords Are Alarmed. “As unemployment soars across the country, tenants rights groups and community nonprofits have rallied around an audacious goal: to persuade the government to halt rent and mortgage payments — without back payments accruing — for as long as the economy is battered by the coronavirus. The effort has been brewing on social media, with the hashtag #CancelRent and online video rallies, as well as a smattering of in-person protests, frequently held in cars to maintain social distancing.” (The New York Times)
  3. Kimco Intros Curbside Pickup at Centers in Texas “One of the largest owners of outdoor retail centers in the United States is rolling out a curbside pickup program that it has trademarked and will roll out to its entire portfolio. Kimco kicked off its Curbside Pickup program with 60 parking spaces at Grand Parkway Marketplace in Spring, Texas, a state that has approved online orders and curbside pickups at malls and shopping centers. The Jericho, N.Y.-based company intends to move the program nationwide within the coming week.” (Chain Store Age)
  4. Pandemic Unlikely to End Construction in 2020 “The U.S. construction pipeline got off to a solid start this year. According to the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index, a bellwether for impending construction activity, demand for design services rose to 53.4 in February, with any figure above 50 indicating an increase in billings. As stay-at-home orders spread across the country, AIA produced a special economic report at the end of March and discovered that approximately 67 percent of the firms responding to the survey have already seen prospective projects slow or cease altogether.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  5. Walker & Dunlop Closes Largest Transaction in Company History with $2.4 Billion Credit Facility “Walker & Dunlop, Inc. announced today that it closed the largest transaction in company history; a $2.4 billion Fannie Mae Credit Facility to refinance 67 multifamily properties located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The borrower, Southern Management Corporation, is the largest privately-owned residential property-management company in the Mid-Atlantic region. The portfolio financed is comprised of 22,439 units in total, over 60 percent of which qualify as mission-driven, affordable housing under Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) guidelines.” (PR Newswire)
  6. The DFW Office Market—Navigating a Curveball “Just two-thirds of the way through the first quarter of 2020, the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) office market was moving along at a brisk clip, indicative of what we had grown accustomed to seeing over the past five-plus years. The Dallas office market was as healthy as it had ever been, and the fundamentals were sound. As written numerous times in Stream’s previous Quarters, the only possible headwinds to this strong long-term recovery would have to be an external, global influence. As we all know, that is exactly what happened.” (D Magazine)
  7. An 88-Year-Old Sears Store in Brooklyn Is Repurposed for Coronavirus Testing “On November 5, 1932, Eleanor Roosevelt helped open a new $1 million Sears, Roebuck and Co department store in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood. For the past 88 years, the large store with its signature 100-foot tower and 300-car parking lot has remained in business — until the COVID-19 crisis closed its doors on April 4. However, its vast parking lot continues to serve the area’s needs.” (Forbes)
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