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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Feb. 25, 2020)

Fears surrounding coronavirus spread could cause the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates in March, reports MarketWatch. Apple has signed a 220,000-sq.-ft. lease in New York City, according to the New York Post. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Economists: Fed Rate Cut Could Come as Early as March “The spreading coronavirus that has roiled stock markets globally on Monday could lead the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates as early as March, according to a research note. "We would rather have a vaccine than a rate cut and fully recognize that monetary policy is not optimized for addressing this type of shock. But it does not follow from this that the appropriate path of policy under the shock is unchanged," said Krishna Guha and Ernie Tedeschi of Evercore ISI in a note to clients.” (MarketWatch)
  2. Apple Signs NYC Lease for Office Space Near Madison Square Garden “Apple has signed a lease for 220,000 square feet of office space at 11 Penn Plaza near Madison Square Garden, The Post has learned. The building sits on entire eastern blockfront along Seventh Avenue between West 31st and 32nd streets, cater-corner to Madison Square Garden. As The Post first reported, Apple will move into the 11th through 14th floors of the Art Deco building — and has additional options for the 9th floor.” (New York Post)
  3. A New York Issue That Unites Landlords and the N.A.A.C.P. “In a closed-door meeting in 2013, politically powerful developers told Bill de Blasio that they were planning a lawsuit challenging New York City’s property tax system. The political system had done nothing to address their concerns for more than 20 years, they told Mr. de Blasio, who was about to be elected mayor. It was time to sue.” (The New York Times)
  4. Continental Real Estate Plans Mixed-Use Complex, Outdoor Plaza Next to PNC Park “One of the last undeveloped North Shore sites soon could be transformed into ‘a unique experience’ … at the front door of PNC Park. So says Strada Architecture in a presentation on behalf of Continental Real Estate Companies that will go before the City Planning Commission on Tuesday. The proposed development at the corner of Mazeroski Way and North Shore Drive could become “the future flagship to the North Shore experience,” the architects say. Currently, the site is the Gold Lot 4 parking lot.” (Next Pittsburgh)
  5. Dine Looks to Slow Closures of Applebee’s Restaurants “Dine Brands Global Inc. expects fewer closures of Applebee’s restaurants this year and said the casual-dining chain may return to sales growth. Applebee’s has struggled to draw in diners as consumers seek out what they perceived are healthier meals and opt for so-called fast casual chains over traditional casual dining. As a result, Applebee’s has been shrinking in the U.S. The restaurant company said Monday that, on a net basis, franchise operators may close between zero and up to 10 Applebee’s locations this year in the U.S. Last year, franchisees closed 28 Applebee’s stores in the U.S., according to Dine.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  6. The 22 Best Cities for LGBTQ Retirees “When it comes to choosing a place to live during retirement, LGBTQ people want the same things that everyone else wants — safety, reasonable prices, agreeable climate, cultural and recreational amenities and good health care. However, LGBTQ people have a few additional factors to consider. Those include how tolerant an area is, the presence of a gay community, and health care providers that are welcoming toward LGBTQ people. In addition to considerations such as low cost of living and low taxes, LGBTQ people tend to value cities with strong LGBTQ communities, higher levels of acceptance and the presence of non-discrimination laws.” (MarketWatch)
  7. Most California Cities Refuse to Retreat from Rising Seas. One Town Wants to Show How It’s Done “Ten miles north of Monterey and a world away from Santa Cruz, Bruce Delgado gazed up a towering sand dune. Careful not to step on the beach buckwheat that protects rare butterflies or the sea lettuce that survives only in stable habitats, he wound his way toward the ocean. At the top, slightly out of breath, he marveled at the sandy beach that stretched for miles along the bay.” (Los Angeles Times)
  8. Brookfield Properties Sells Los Angeles Office Building “An institutional investor has purchased 1960 Grand, a 260,000-square-foot office building in El Segundo, Calif. According to Yardi Matrix data, the seller is Brookfield Properties. The company acquired the Class A asset in 2017 for $67 million from TA Realty, in a $854.5 million portfolio transaction comprising 60 properties across 15 markets. JLL represented the seller and procured the buyer in the current deal.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  9. CRE Lenders Maintain Discipline Amid 2020 Optimism “Although lenders are heading into 2020 with continued optimism about stable to strong deal velocity, they’re also staying disciplined when it comes to lending requirements. Accordingly, says the 2020 RCM LightBox Investor Sentiment Report, any developer who relies on capital to keep the business moving may need to be prepared to expand lending sources. ‘The difference in this cycle versus similar points of other cycles is that we all have a lot more equity in the deals than what was done historically,’ said Tracy Ayers, CCIM, senior managing director of Renasant Bank in Nashville.” (Connect Commercial Real Estate)
  10. CareTrust REIT: Fewer ‘Meaningful Opportunities’ in Senior Housing “’There are plenty of assisted living and memory care deals out there right now, but most don’t fit with our or our operators’ objectives. So meaningful opportunities for us in that asset class have been fewer and farther between,’ CareTrust REIT Chief Investment Officer Mark Lamb said Friday during the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 earnings call. In and since the fourth quarter, however, the REIT has closed on $48.5 million in new investments, including some in senior living.” (McKnight’s Senior Living)
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