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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (June 7, 2019)

Fed is debating whether to cut the interest rate at its June meeting, reports the Wall Street Journal. Elliott Advisors is buying Barnes & Noble for $638 million, according to The New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Fed Begins Debate on Whether to Cut Rate as Soon as June “Federal Reserve officials are beginning preparations for a June policy meeting with difficult choices to deliberate. One month ago, Fed Chairman Jerome Powellplayed down speculation of a rate cut this summer. Now officials face a darker economic outlook, making a rate cut possible—if not at their meeting on June 18-19, then possibly in July or later. Officials need to decide what would trigger such action, how much more information they want before making a decision and how to signal their intentions and plans. The Fed is set to begin their customary pre-meeting quiet period at the end of this week.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Barnes & Nobles Is Sold to Hedge Fund After a Tumultuous Year “Barnes & Noble has been acquired by the hedge fund Elliott Advisors for $638 million. The sale was announced Friday morning following months of speculation over the future of Barnes & Noble, the largest bookstore chain in the United States and a critical retail outlet for publishers and authors. Elliott’s acquisition of Barnes & Noble follows its purchase of the British bookstore chain Waterstones in June 2018. James Daunt, the chief executive of Waterstones, will also act as Barnes & Noble’s C.E.O. and will be based in New York.” (The New York Times)
  3. Caesars Said to be Near Merger Deal with Eldorado Resorts “Caesars Entertainment Corp. is a nearing a deal to combine with rival casino operator Eldorado Resorts Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. Caesars and Eldorado have been finalizing a cash-and-stock deal that could be announced later this month assuming the talks don’t fall apart, one of the people said. Other suitors have been circling Caesars and it is possible one of them could still emerge as the winner, though Eldorado is currently the front-runner, the people said. Exact terms couldn’t be learned.” (MarketWatch)
  4. The Toxic Secret Underneath the Seaport “The Howard Hughes Corporation, which controls a significant portion of the South Street Seaport under a lease with the city and has been updating the area, recently purchased the parking lot, adding to its Seaport empire. Although it has no approved development plans for the site, Howard Hughes is proposing to remediate it, which typically is done right before building starts.” (The New York Times)
  5. Avoiding Extremes, Berkley Architect Extols “Missing Middle” Housing “Most people who stroll the domesticated side streets of Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood are checking out the robust traditional architecture or the ever-shifting array of trees and shrubs. Dan Parolek looks for side doors with their own address. Or multiple electricity meters or extra mail slots — any sign that this seemingly genteel terrain is more populous than you might expect.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  6. WeWork to Open SF Coding School—with Refunds if Students Don’t Get Jobs “Co-working giant WeWork is opening its Flatiron School in San Francisco, a coding school that refunds tuition if students don’t get jobs. The school will initially open in a WeWork location at 995 Market St. and move to a permanent location at 1455 Market St. as part of a new WeWork co-working space.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  7. Selling Wellness, Whether It Works or Not “Nationwide, the development pipeline is packed with properties oriented around wellness. This month in Los Angeles, the putative homeland of health crazes, one Beverly Hills spec house developer will list the Wellness House, while in August, another will list Beverly Hills’ First Wellness Estate. Another spec home, listed for $52 million, offers a cigar room, wine cellar and wet bar. The buyer can then stagger over to the ‘wellness studi,’ which includes a flotation tank, infrared sauna and steam room. The question is whether wellness features will be a panacea in a tricky sales environment.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  8. Discovery Labs Plans $500M Philly-Area Coworking Campus “The Discovery Labs, a newly launched platform company by MLP Ventures, is planning to introduce a 1.6 million-square-foot coworking complex to the market in suburban Philadelphia. Discovery will redevelop pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline’s Upper Merion West Campus and the Innovation at Renaissance Campus in King of Prussia, Pa., into a $500 million coworking destination for health-care, life sciences and technology-enabled companies.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  9. Miami’s Neighborhoods Are in Flux. Here Are the Ones Most Likely to Change Quickly “Gavin McKenzie is one of the happy beneficiaries of Miami’s sweeping and long-lasting development boom. The builder and master wood craftsman and his firm, McKenzie Construction, have ridden the wave to success for 15 years, undertaking high-profile residential and commercial projects in revitalized hot spots from South Beach to Wynwood and the Miami Design District. Along the way, McKenzie and his firm, based in a refurbished 1938 Allapattah warehouse, have developed a reputation for fine design and artisanship.” (Miami Herald)
  10. JV Obtains Mezzanine Loan for Brooklyn Project “Bluestone Group has joined with Madison Realty Capital to finance 200 Kent Ave., a more than 117,000-square-foot retail and office development that has recently topped out in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. The direct lender has provided $8 million in mezzanine financing, which supplements a $64 million loan that Madison Realty secured in November 2017. Cornell Realty Management and LIVWRK are co-developing the project, Commercial Property.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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