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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Sept. 8, 2020)

IKEA’s shopping center business, Ingka Centres, has purchased its first U.S. property, a mall in San Francisco. And they are looking to buy more, according to a report from Reuters. Meanwhile, stories from The Atlantic and The New York Times explore different ways working from home has created setbacks for some workers. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. IKEA's shopping centers arm buys San Francisco mall in its first US real estate deal “IKEA’s shopping centers business has made its first U.S real estate acquisition, buying the 6X6 mall in San Francisco, after telling Reuters in May it was engaged in several negotiations for inner-city acquisitions in the United States. It bought the 6X6 mall from Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc and TMG Partners, an Ingka Centres spokesman said.” (Reuters)
  2. Generation Work-From-Home May Never Recover “If the COVID‑19 experiment has proved anything, it’s that employees can be productive without being physically present, so why not jettison expensive corporate leases and free everyone from commutes? But the longer people spend editing spreadsheets or taking conference calls at the kitchen table, the more obvious it is that workers lose far more than physical space when they lose their office.” (The Atlantic)
  3. Working From Home Poses Hurdles for Employees of Color “With fewer connections and less extensive networks than white colleagues to begin with, Black and Hispanic workers can find themselves more isolated than ever in a world of Zoom calls and virtual forums. Assignments end up flowing to people who look more like top managers — a longstanding issue — while workers of color hesitate to raise their voices during online meetings, said Sara Prince, a partner at the consulting firm McKinsey.” (The New York Times)
  4. Analysts Weigh In On What CRE Can Expect For Each Asset Class In Q4 “If you're suffering from pandemic haze and have lost track of where things stand in the industry, or even what day it is, Bisnow has you covered: We broke down all of the major commercial property asset classes to help you get up to speed — where the sectors have been since the beginning of the year, where they are now and what expert analysts think will happen as we march toward 2021.” (Bisnow)
  5. New Digital Weapons in the Apartment Amenities Arms Race “Amenities are just as much a part of the marketing budget as they are an operating expense. But this “arms race” thinking understates the importance of creating a connection with the resident, of how a property that is able to become an important part of people’s loves has no direct substitute.” (
  6. The Two Men Buying Your Favorite Retailers “It has been a prolonged period of retail carnage: storied names declaring bankruptcy, mass market brands closing thousands of stores, tens of thousands of shop employees furloughed or laid off, garment workers in dire straits. More ominous still are the predictions that we will never shop the same way again. For Jamie Salter and David Simon, however, it has been a time of great opportunity.” (The New York Times)
  7. Urban Outfitters Navigates Inventory Challenges Amid Pandemic “Even though the majority of its stores had reopened by late June, Urban Outfitters has been working to keep a lower inventory of clothing and other goods in its stores and distribution centers, Chief Financial Officer Frank Conforti said. The CFO, like many of his peers, has only limited visibility into what consumer demand will look like in the coming months.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  8. What will happen to Seattle’s empty office towers when COVID-19 ends? “But amid overarching uncertainty about how long work-from-home regimes could last, tenants are scrambling to find flexibility in their leases while building owners and developers are examining options to convert offices into space that can be used in other ways, such as biomedical research.” (The Seattle Times)
  9. Despite virus setback, investors may chase office realty in Beijing “Declining rent levels and increasing investable assets in Beijing's office realty market caused by COVID-19 will offer a window of opportunity for investment in the next three to five years, according to a recent property industry report.” (
  10. Closure of Hilton Times Square may be ‘tip of the iceberg’ of troubles facing New York hotels “The move follows a decision earlier this week by Ashford Hospitality to hand over the keys to its recently purchased Embassy Suites in Midtown West to its lender after the real estate investment trust fell behind in debt payments. In fact, 34% of hotels in New York City alone are currently delinquent, and hospitality investment bank Robert Douglas sees more hotels at risk of closing.” (CNBC)
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