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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Jan. 7, 2022)

States including New York, New Jersey, Oregon and Texas have stopped accepting rental assistance applications, reports CNBC. North American investors were the most active buyers of London office buildings in the fourth quarter, according to The Wall Street Journal. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Several States Have Run Out of Rental Assistance “Several states have stopped accepting applications for federal rental assistance. The programs in New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Texas, as well as Washington, D.C., are either closed or on hold, leaving many struggling renters cut off from their only hope of paying off their debt and staying in their homes.” (CNBC)
  2. U.S. Investors Will Return to the Office, But Probably in London “Even as the Omicron strain forces London’s white-collar workers to do their job from home, U.S. investors are eyeing the U.K. capital’s offices. Returns are better than other European hubs, but maybe not for long. North Americans were the biggest purchasers of London offices in the fourth quarter of 2021, accounting for 39% of deals by value overall and 56% within the City of London district, based on data from real-estate firm Knight Frank. Typically, they make around one in five purchases.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  3. How Corporate America Has Changed After the Capitol Attack “A push for more information about corporate political activity gained momentum. Last year, public company shareholders, including major institutional investors, approved more proposals than ever before asking for disclosure of company political spending, the Center for Political Accountability found. Companies also made oversight of donations a priority for directors, where previously middle management often handled such matters.” (The New York Times)
  4. End to Eviction Moratorium Will Stress-Test Tenants’ Right to a Lawyer “Whenever expiration comes, it will put the right-to-counsel system to its greatest stress test yet. The program is funded at $166 million in the fiscal year that ends June 30, according to city officials — which includes $66 million in federal funds. Housing Court lawyers credit the right to counsel for keeping New York City tenants stable even while hundreds of thousands struggled to pay rent during the pandemic, when unemployment skyrocketed to 20% and is now at 9%.” (The City)
  5. Macy’s Is Closing More Stores This Year. Here’s a Map of Which Ones Are on the List “Macy’s has released a list of the handful of department store locations that it plans to close in the first quarter of this year. It includes six full-line department stores, a Bloomingdale’s outlet store, and a Macy’s store that the company said already closed in 2021 but was never announced publicly.” (CNBC)
  6. These 37 Bed, Bath & Beyond Stores Are Closing “Bed Bath & Beyond revealed the locations of 37 of the approximately 200 stores it plans close by the end of this year. The plans, which were announced two years ago, are part of Bed Bath & Beyond's multi-year transformation that includes creating new, private labels, remodeling stores and focusing on e-commerce under CEO Mark Tritton. Affected locations will be closed by the end of February and are currently having liquidation sales.” (CNN Business)
  7. JLL Acquired Proptech Building Operations Company Hank “Hard on the heels of acquiring building operations platform Building Engines for $300 million in November, JLL announced Thursday morning that it has acquired Hank, a virtual engineering platform that applies machine learning and AI to manage HVAC programming and target energy and equipment performance inefficiencies.” (Commercial Observer)
  8. Real Estate Firm Sues NYC Over Workplace Vaccine Mandate “The lawsuit filed Tuesday contends businesses like Cornerstone Realty, a Staten Island real estate firm that is the only named plaintiff in the case, are being unduly forced to fire unvaccinated workers and asserts the city’s vaccination edict lacks mechanisms for businesses to appeal. ‘This case is not about vaccines, but about an employer’s right to be heard,’ the lawsuit states.” (Brooklyn Daily Eagle)
  9. CES 2022 in Photos: A Strange Time for the World’s Biggest Tech Show “This year, back in person after a completely virtual show in 2021, attendees are balancing their trade show agendas with COVID-19 prevention measures and Omicron-related risk budgeting.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  10. Rivian’s $5B Georgia Deal Shows Southeast Is Winning the EV Manufacturing Race “Rivian is the biggest snowball in an avalanche of EV makers that could be coming to the Southeast, experts say.” (Bisnow)
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