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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (August 7, 2019)

California officials threatened legal action if Cupertino fails to meet its housing goals, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Twenty-six additional Kmart and Sears stores are now slated for closing, with further closings possible, according to CNBC. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Of Barney’s Bankruptcy, Pride and the Fall “It has been striking, over the last few weeks, to watch the almost gleeful flow of reports and speculation about the maybe-probably-now-confirmed bankruptcy of Barneys New York, the fabled department store. Starting in mid-July, when Reuters broke the news that a rent hike at the Madison Avenue store was putting Barneys under untenable pressure, the rumors have come with notably regularity: It could happen as early as this week! O.K., maybe next week!” (The New York Times)
  2. Will Trade Tensions Scare Away Foreign Real Estate Buyers? “Riding out the rises and falls of the real estate market has become tougher as of late, with appreciation decelerating, sales slowing, and anxiety over a potential recession casting a pall on purchases. It’s a microcosm of what’s happening in the larger world market, where the U.S. imposition of tariffs and trade barriers with China and other countries has created similar uncertainty.” (Curbed)
  3. California Threatens to Sue if Apple’s Hometown Lags on Housing “California officials are threatening legal action if Cupertino, hometown of Apple, doesn’t meet its housing goals. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) said in a letter that Cupertino risks missing its goal of approving 1,064 new housing units by 2023.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  4. Best Time in a Generation to Purchase Commercial Real Estate “Regardless of the economic climate, arguments can always be made for why small business owners should purchase their commercial properties. With a steadily growing economy and still historically low interest rates, reasons to buy rather than rent are incredibly compelling right now. I have worked with entrepreneurs and the U.S. Small Business Administration for more than 20 years, helping business owners grow their wealth through the purchase of commercial real estate.” (Forbes)
  5. 26 Sears, Kmart Stores to Close in October, Company “Cannot” Rule Out More Closures This Year “More Sears and Kmart stores are set to go dark, as the brands’ new parent company, TransformCo, fights to keep the once-bankrupt business afloat. The company announced on its website Monday evening that 26 additional Sears and Kmart stores will close in late October, ranging from locations in California to Texas to Virginia. (See a complete list of locations below.) Liquidation sales will begin around Aug. 15, the company said.” (CNBC)
  6. The New York Times Is Moving Some Staffers to Long Island City “The Gray Lady is moving employees out of its namesake Times Square Tower to Long Island City. The New York Times has leased 57,846 square feet on the ninth through 11th floors of Court Square Place, bringing the 275,252-square-foot building to 100% occupancy. Located at 24-01 44th Road, the curved building steps back at the 11th floor, which at 15,380 square feet is slightly smaller than the ninth and 10th floors of 21,233 square feet each.” (New York Post)
  7. U.S. Farm Real Estate Up $60 Per Acre “The average farm real estate values for the U.S. is $3,160 per acre in 2019. That’s up $60 from 2018, according to USDA’s 2019 Land Values Summary. Cropland values are up $50 for 2019, with a national average of $4,100 per acre. That ties the previous high for U.S. cropland values, which was reached in 2015. Pasture values increased by $30 per acre from 2018 values to a national average of $1,400. That’s the highest value for pasture land USDA has recorded.” (AgPro)
  8. Commercial Lending Activity in U.S. Increases in Q2 “According to research from CBRE, commercial real estate lending activity gained traction in the second quarter of 2019 following a brief pause at the start of the year amid financial market volatility. The CBRE Lending Momentum Index, which tracks the pace of commercial loan closings in the U.S, reached a value of 244 in June--up 2.3% from March's close. Compared with a year ago, lending growth is 20.8% above its June 2018 close.” (World Property Journal)
  9. CVS Slows Store Expansion Plans, Cuts Pace by a Third “CVS Health will slow the pace of its annual store expansion by opening about one-third of locations it usually does and even fewer next year, the company’s head of retail said Wednesday. The drugstore chain normally opens about 300 stores every year, CVS Pharmacy President Kevin Hourican said on a call with analysts Wednesday discussing CVS’ second-quarter earnings results.” (CNBC)
  10. Visa, Revised: Why EB-5 Is Getting Pricier and Harder to Use in Big Cities “In the wake of the Great Recession, the EB-5 program — often referred to as “cash for visas” — became an easy source of financing for real estate developers who found themselves unable to borrow money from traditional lenders. But new rules released by the federal government last month may make it much harder for real estate firms and other kinds of companies to use EB-5 money, especially in expensive cities like New York.” (Commercial Observer)
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