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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Jan. 13, 2019)

The pace of new construction in Chicago is dropping, reports Crain's Chicago Business. Bisnow looks at the toll of Australia's horrific brushfire season and how communities are planning to rebuild. These are among today's must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Chicago's construction boom is about to bust “After a building boom that has stretched the boundaries of downtown and put a record number of cranes in the air, new construction projects are forecast to fall 10 percent this year, according to New York-based research firm Dodge Data & Analytics. If that prediction is right, it would mark the third annual decrease in four years and the biggest single-year drop in construction starts since the Great Recession.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
  2. Expand Penn Station? Fight With Trump Stalls Tunnels to Get There “The $11.3 billion plan to build new tunnels under the Hudson River before the old ones give out remains mired in a political standoff between President Trump and Democratic leaders on both sides of the river. That plan, known as Gateway, is widely considered the most important infrastructure project in the country. But it requires federal funding and approvals that the Trump administration has shown little interest in providing.” (The New York Times)
  3. 'Australia Is On Fire. We Must Do Things Differently.' “Australia still has months left in its brushfire season, but traumatized communities have begun their rebuilding efforts. They now have to consider what their homes and businesses will look like in the aftermath of such unprecedented destruction. How buildings are designed, the materials that are used and where they are located could all be reconsidered, as the country — and the globe — face up to what a disaster like this could mean for the future of the built environment.” (Bisnow)
  4. One Architect’s Radical Vision to Replace the Open Office “Rethinking how a space is structured could change the ways people do their jobs, says Mr. Dewane, a former professor and architect at workspace-design giant Gensler, and now a director at the architecture firm Barker/Nestor. His solution, one beginning to gain traction across the U.S., is a concept he calls a “eudaimonia machine,” its name based on the Greek term for human flourishing.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  5. Robust Job Growth and Consumer Spending Bode Well for US Commercial Real Estate “The longest economic expansion since World War II shows indications of staying solid in 2020, extending the record bull run for U.S. commercial real estate despite some risks that could eventually move the country toward a recession, according to CoStar economists.” (CoStar)
  6. The Decade Dominated by the Ultraluxury Condo “Developers used the 2010s to reshape the New York skyline with soaring condo towers — many of which will struggle to sell units well into the next decade.” (The New York Times)
  7. From Utah to Florida, States Boost Spending on New Roads “The 50 states collectively spent $113.2 billion on transportation in fiscal year 2019, a 9% jump from the previous year, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. It was the biggest jump since 2015, and transportation industry trackers said they expect spending boosts to continue in 2020.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  8. Firing on All Cylinders “After a strong 2019 in which the region’s commercial real estate sectors displayed tremendous — and in some cases gravity-defying — growth, the industry along the Gulf Coast appears poised for another significant year across all sectors, experts say.” (Business Observer)
  9. CRE Originators Are Getting Ready for a Busy Year “Mortgage professionals focused on commercial and multifamily originations are preparing to be busy this year, sharing their optimism with lenders.” (Mortgage Professional America)
  10. Economist: CRE Flourishes as Expansion Enters 11th Year “The commercial real estate market started 2020 on a positive note, according to Barbara Byrne Denham, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics. According to Denham, growth should stay moderate despite very low interest rates and inflation.” (
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