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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (June 5, 2019)

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled the Fed might cut rates if the economic outlook worsens, reports the Wall Street Journal. CVS plans to open 1,500 HealthHUBs by 2021, according to CNBC. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Trade Risks Prompt Predictions for Fed Rate Cuts “Federal Reserve officials are closely monitoring the recent escalation in trade tensions, and Chairman Jerome Powell indicated Tuesday officials could respond by cutting interest rates if the economic outlook deteriorates. He didn’t say whether he thought that would be needed. ‘We do not know how or when these trade issues will be resolved,’ Mr. Powell said. Stock markets, which were already trading higher before Mr. Powell’s comments, climbed further after he spoke. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 400 points in afternoon trade.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. New York City Rents Just Hit a New High, Report Finds “Maybe the rent really is too darn high. The median rent for New York City one-bedroom apartments hit $2,980 in May, the highest in at least three years, according to real estate listing site Zumper’s national latest rent report. It’s even worse if Manhattan is considered independently of the other four boroughs: average one-bedroom rents there came to a whopping $3,613 in April, according to Douglas Elliman’s most recent report.” (New York Post)
  3. Wells Fargo Will Shift More of its Charitable Giving to Housing Affordability “Wells Fargo, which in the past has spread its substantial charitable giving far and wide, announced Wednesday that it will now focus its national philanthropy on three areas: housing affordability, financial health and small-business growth, with an emphasis on housing. ‘We have always been known as a good check writer,’ and ‘not the problem solver we wanted to be,’ said Jon Campbell, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation and head of corporate responsibility for the bank.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  4. CVS to Open 1,500 HealthHUB Stores Over Next Two Years “CVS will open 1,500 HealthHUB stores by the end of 2021, the company announced Tuesday ahead of its investor day. The HealthHUBs are remodeled drugstores that focus more on health services and products and less on candy and greeting cards. CVS opened its first three HealthHUB locations in Houston in February. It plans to open more in Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, southern New Jersey and Tampa, Florida, by the end of the year.” (CNBC)
  5. Developers Built a 30-Story High-Rise. They Might Have to Chop Off 5 Floors “In New York City, real estate fights between neighborhoods and developers over new projects typically take place long before any ground is broken. But the latest battle involves a 30-story condo tower in Manhattan that is nearly finished. It turns out that the building is larger and taller — by as many as five floors — than the city’s zoning codes allow.” (The New York Times)
  6. Wrestling with Fannie and Freddie’s Expanding Role in Multifamily Lending “Reports last week indicated that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the twin institutions that guarantee U.S. housing loans, could finally be on the brink of exiting their decade-long federal conservatorship. If so, it’d mark a sea change for multifamily finance. In captivity, the giant agencies had become the elephants in the housing debt markets: massive forces that their custodians—Congress and the Federal Housing Finance Agency—haven’t been quite sure what to do with.” (Commercial Observer)
  7. Cold Is the Hottest New Real Estate Investment “The growth of e-commerce has increased demand for warehouse space exponentially, but one subset of that real estate sector is really heating up. Cold storage warehouses and distribution centers are suddenly in high demand thanks to new food delivery services such as Peapod by Giant, Amazon Fresh and Blue Apron. The sector is small now, but growing rapidly.” (CNBC)
  8. J.C. Penney Bonds Are Signaling Trouble. And They May End Up Causing It “J.C. Penney bond yields have soared over the past few days in a selloff driven by investor concerns about its liquidity. That apparent financial stress could become a self-fulfilling prophecy if it persists. The retailer’s bond yields have skyrocketed in recent weeks, something that is often considered to be a sign of financial distress. And markets are pricing in a 96% chance it will default within five years, according to IHS Markit, up from 87% about a month ago.” (MarketWatch)
  9. The State of New Development According to Those Who Build and Sell It “Prices in the luxury market are slipping, inventory levels are swollen, and Amazon has turned its back on Queens. But despite these challenges, the New York new development market is still ripe for opportunity, according to top executives who live, breathe, build and sell it. At The Real Deal‘s 12th annual showcase, developers MaryAnne Gilmartin and Michael Shvo were joined by architect Vishaan Chakrabarti and brokerage boss Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan on a panel to discuss the state of the market.” (The Real Deal)
  10. DRA Advisors Buys San Francisco Office Park for $265M “Marina Village, a 1 million-square-foot office/research park in Alameda, Calif., is getting a new owner and a new destiny. DRA Advisors LLC and Local Capital Group recently acquired the San Francisco Bay Area asset from Brookfield Properties for a reported $265 million, and now the partners have brought JLL aboard to spearhead leasing as part of the campus’s rebranding as The Research Park at Marina Village.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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