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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Jan. 12, 2022)

FiveThirtyEight examines why an anticipated eviction tsunami never materialized. JPMorgan, Citigroup threaten to fire unvaccinated employees, while Facebook requires employees get boosters for a March office return. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Michael Shvo’s Big Bet on Offices and Retail Faces Pandemic Test “The fate of a half-dozen office buildings owned by property developer Michael Shvo and a group of German investors will likely say a lot about the future of U.S. office properties. The residential-broker-turned-commercial-developer and his backers acquired six major office and retail buildings in 2019 and 2020. The shopping spree included San Francisco’s famous Transamerica Pyramid tower and 711 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan, which is known as the Coca-Cola building. With a price tag of more than $2 billion, it was a big bet on the primacy of city-center office buildings well into the future. Mr. Shvo said these iconic properties would stand the test of time. ‘These are 30-year investments,’ he told The Wall Street Journal in early 2020.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. What Happened to the Eviction Tsunami? “When the national moratorium lifted, housing experts, renter advocates and policymakers braced for a surge of evictions. Now, four months later, evictions have increased, but data suggests that a tsunami has yet to materialize. Some still think one is coming, as courts begin working through a backlog of eviction filings, but according to Eviction Lab, the country’s most comprehensive tracker of eviction data, evictions in most places are nearly 40 percent below the historical average.” (FiveThirtyEight)
  3. For Retail Workers, Omicron Disruptions Aren’t Just About Health “A weary retail work force is experiencing the fallout from the latest wave of the pandemic, with a rapidly spreading variant cutting into staffing. While data shows that people infected with the Omicron variant are far less likely to be hospitalized than those with the Delta variant, especially if they are vaccinated, many store workers are dealing with a new jump in illness and exposures, grappling with shifting guidelines around isolation and juggling child care.” (The New York Times)
  4. Cresa Acquires Workplace Strategy Advisory Firm “Global commercial real estate advisory firm, Cresa has acquired Agile Work Evolutions, a real estate technology company that is focused on workplace strategy and implementation. AWE offers tech-enabled workplace strategy and advisory to help clients better understand potential occupancy strategies and adopt hybrid and flex workplace solutions into their occupancy.” (
  5. Facebook Delays Return to Office Until March, COVID Boosters Required “Facebook parent Meta Platforms said on Monday it is delaying employees’ return to offices across the U.S. until March 28 — adding that proof of a booster shot will be required to protect against the surging omicron variant. Meta said on Monday the pushback of the return-to-office date gives employees more flexibility regarding their work arrangements amid the lingering effects of the pandemic. The social media giant, whose headquarters are located in Menlo Park, Calif., previously planned to fully reopen offices for vaccinated employees on Jan. 31.” (CNBC)
  6. JPMorgan’s Dimon Warns Unvaccinated New York Staff Could Be Terminated “Unvaccinated New York-based staff at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) risk losing their jobs, Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said on Monday in a further indication that banks are getting tougher on employees as they return to work. ‘If you aren't going to get vaxxed, you won't be able to work in that office. We're not going to pay you not to work in the office,’ Dimon said. ‘We want people to get vaccinated.’ Last week, Citigroup Inc said staff in the United States who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 14 would be placed on unpaid leave and fired at the end of the month unless granted an exemption.” (CNN Business)
  7. Citigroup Will Fire Employees Who Haven’t Been Vaccinated Against COVID-19, According to Reports “Citigroup has warned US office staff that they'll be fired at the end of the month if they don't get vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 14. The vaccine policy is the strictest so far among big financial companies, The New York Post reported. Citi staff can apply for religious or medical exemptions from the mandate, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.” (Business Insider)
  8. Big Lots’ Ambitious Long-Term Growth Outlook Includes 500 Net Store Openings “Big Lots is thinking big. The discounter on Monday provided a long-range growth and margin outlook that includes a sales goal of $8 billion to $10 billion driven by approximately 500 net store openings, merchandise sales productivity initiatives and continued ecommerce growth. Big Lots, which currently operates 1,431 stores in 47 states, reported net sales of $6.2 billion for fiscal 2020.” (Chain Store Age)
  9. Amid Rising Prices, American Families Fall Deeper in Debt “Higher prices are already taking a toll. As consumers pay more for everything from groceries to gasoline, household income is failing to keep pace with a higher overall cost of living, according to recent reports. Over the past two years, median income fell 3% while the cost of living rose nearly 7%, due, in part, to rising housing and medical costs.” (CNBC)
  10. Dutch Bros to Open 125 Shops in 2022 “Dutch Bros is going full speed ahead in the new year. The fast-growing, Oregon-based drive-thru coffee chain is increasing systemwide shop development expectations to 125 locations in 2022, up from its prior guidance of 112 shops. Dutch Bros noted it has ‘great confidence in our new unit development pipeline.’ The company, which went public in September, had 538 locations across 12 states as of the end of 2021.” (Chain Store Age)
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