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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Jan. 15, 2020)

A joint venture that includes the Blackstone Group will buy MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay, reports the Wall Street Journal. The New York Times looks at how Florida’s Aventura Mall has been beating the retail sector’s troubles. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. MGM Resorts Agrees to Sell MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay to Joint Venture Including Blackstone “MGM Resorts International agreed to sell the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay resorts and casinos on the Las Vegas Strip to a joint venture that includes private-equity and real estate giant Blackstone Group Inc. News of the deal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The deal values the MGM Grand Las Vegas real-estate assets—the company’s largest property by square footage, as of its most recent annual financial filing—at about $2.5 billion.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Dying Malls? This One Has Found a Way to Thrive “Some retailers have turned to extras like virtual-reality headsets and touch-screen mirrors to give shoppers an experience they can’t get online. Aventura Mall, a shopping complex between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, is using a nine-story slide. The double-chute tower, which began offering rides in 2017, invites children and adults to grab hold of mats, rocket around corkscrew turns and whoop 93 feet down.” (The New York Times)
  3. Is Real Estate Investment Sports’ Next Major Revenue Stream? “Back in late December, Alameda County officials unanimously approved a plan to sell their fifty-percent stake in the Oakland Coliseum sports complex to the Oakland Athletics for $85 million (+ $5 million/year in annual operating expenses). The A’s are the last big four team playing at the sports multiplex after the Raiders (Las Vegas) and Warriors (San Francisco) left for greener pastures. The team plans to play at Mount Davis through the 2022 season - while simultaneously redeveloping the Coliseum site to accommodate ‘a large park, housing and businesses.’” (John Wall Street)
  4. California Tries to Save Law It Calls Crucial Tool in Housing Crisis “The state is stepping into the legal battle over a proposed condominium project in San Mateo to defend a California law that prevents cities from rejecting multi-unit housing that meets their local building rules. Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed Monday to intervene in an appeal of the case, in which a San Mateo County judge ruled to narrow the scope of the decades-old law.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  5. Loan Wolves: Bankers Are Stalking Developers as Debts Come Due “It was one of many signs last year that a growing number of New York City condo developers are on borrowed time. Bank OZK had committed $108 million to finance a 92-unit condo building at 615 10th Avenue back in 2015. But last April, with the project stalled, the construction lender dialed that back by $20 million, forcing the developer to grab a lifeline from mezzanine lender Mack Real Estate Credit Strategies.” (The Real Deal)
  6. BlackRock to Hold Companies and Itself to Higher Standards on Climate Risk “BlackRock Inc. said it would take a tougher stance against corporations that aren’t providing a full accounting of environmental risks, part of a slew of moves by the investment giant to show it is doing more to address investment challenges posed by climate change. Among the moves, BlackRock said it would be increasingly disposed to vote against management and boards if companies don’t disclose climate change risks and plans in line with key industry standards.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  7. Downtown Office Market Posts Best Year Since 2007 “Companies moved into more downtown Chicago office space in 2019 than in any year since before the Great Recession, keeping the good times rolling for landlords into the new decade. But some landlords still have big holes to fill. Punctuated by more than half a million square feet of net move-ins during the last three months alone—the biggest single quarter in four years—2019 finished with almost 1.8 million square feet of positive net absorption, according to real estate services company CBRE.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
  8. Renter with a Housing Voucher Sues Real Estate Company for Income Discrimination “A D.C. resident with a federal housing voucher is suing a Colorado-based real estate company for income discrimination. Tiana Martin was just looking for new housing to rent in or near Dupont Circle, where she was already living. In her search, she came across Latrobe Apartment Homes located at 1325 15th Street NW, which refuses to lease available rental properties to residents who use Housing Choice Vouchers as payment for their monthly rent, according to a complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday. The law firm Handley Farah & Anderson is representing Martin.” (Washington City Paper)
  9. As California Comes to Grips with Housing Crisis, Texas Real Estate Rises in 2020 “Texas and California represent opposite poles on the spectrum of government ideology⁠—the Golden State’s Democratic supermajority versus the conservative Lone Star State’s regulation-averse independent streak⁠—and in recent years, starkly different results when it comes to housing policy and production. Predictions for this coming year highlight the divide. According to the recently released Texas A&M Real Estate Center’s outlook for 2020, the state’s homebuilding industry will still have a banner year, despite forecasts for muted economic growth.” (Curbed)
  10. This Is What a $2.7-Million ‘Fixer-Upper’ Looks Like in San Francisco “One of San Francisco’s iconic “Painted Ladies” Victorians is for sale for $2.7 million. But there’s a catch. Despite its seven-figure price tag, the 1890s, three-story house needs head-to-toe restorations, according to its listing agent Jeremy Rushton. While Rushton could not comment on the cost to gut the house as the price tag would depend on taste, it could easily exceed $500,000, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Value Report.” (CNBC)
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