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10 Must Reads for CRE Investors Today (Feb. 23, 2023)

Institutional Investor examines the assumption that REITs can always hedge inflation. Some Amazon employees ask management not to make them return to in-office work, reports Gizmodo. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. What’s a ‘Commercially Reasonable’ Mezzanine Loan Foreclosure? “Traditionally, it was thought that mezzanine lenders could enforce their UCC pledges rather quickly. Through a foreclosure sale, they could take over ownership and control of a mortgage borrower with blinding speed. This terrified mezzanine borrowers, but they had to live with it. Recent litigation, especially during the Covid pandemic, has made it clear that the law actually doesn’t allow mezzanine lenders to foreclose as quickly as people had thought. This is true at least where the underlying real property is substantial or complicated—which commercial real estate developments and investments usually are.” (Forbes)
  2. REITs Can Hedge Inflation, But Not During a Market Crisis “Amid rising inflation last year, investors turned to real estate as a hedge against potential losses in other asset classes. But according to new research, the ability of real estate — particularly publicly traded real estate investment trusts — to hedge against inflation depends on a number of factors. In fact, during periods of market turmoil such as the global financial crisis, publicly traded real estate companies did not provide a hedge against inflation and, in some cases, detracted from a diversified portfolio’s ability to hedge. This is according to a paper released this month by the Swiss Finance Institute.” (Institutional Investor)
  3. Realty Income to Invest $1 Bln for Vertical Farming with Startup Plenty “Commerical real estate investment trust Realty Income will partner with Softbank-backed vertical farming startup Plenty Unlimited Inc to invest up to $1 billion to build farming space leased to the startup, the companies said on Tuesday.” (Reuters)
  4. Architectural Billings Continue to Contract in 2023 “Fewer architecture firms report declining billings in January compared to billing activity in December, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA). AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for January was 49.3* compared to 48.4 in December (any score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings). Last month’s score indicates overall revenue at U.S architecture firms continued to decline from December to January, however, the pace of decline slowed. Inquiries into new projects during January grew, with a score of 55.2 compared to 52.6 in December. The value of new design contracts also reflected an easing in the pace of decline, rising to a score of 53.4 in January from 50.0 the previous month.” (
  5. IPA CEO Anya Coverman Sees ‘Tremendous Opportunity’ to Collaborate to Support REITs “Anya Coverman, president and CEO of the Institute for Portfolio Alternatives (IPA), wants to create more opportunities for retail investors to effectively diversify their portfolios through the use of alternative investments. And she thinks embracing industry innovation will be key. Coverman was promoted to her current role in September 2022, after previously serving as the IPA's senior vice president of legal and government affairs and general counsel. “This is just the beginning for a tremendous future that lies ahead for alternatives,” she says, in response to the outlook for public, non-listed REITs and the other products the IPA represents.” (
  6. First Jeff Bezos, Now Elon Musk Making a Play in the Single-Family Housing Market “Real estate is one of the classic rags-to-riches stories and has been the source of wealth for some of the richest people on the planet. According to Forbes, 193 billionaires were created through real estate. Andrew Carnegie was famously quoted saying that ‘90% of all millionaires become so through owning real estate. More money has been made in real estate than in all industrial investments combined. The wise young man, [woman] or wage earner of today invests his money in real estate.’” (Yahoo Finance)
  7. How Hybrid Work Is Changing Offices of the Future “Workplaces that look like your living room; flexible, multiuse spaces; outdoor terraces. Today’s new hybrid work styles are reshaping the office buildings of tomorrow. Leading architects and real-estate developers are pioneering concepts aimed at workers who are splitting their time between home and office, and they predict these innovations will become mainstream in the years to come.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  8. Companies Decide to Keep Four-Day Workweek After Finding Out It’s Better “According to an ongoing study in the UK, the four-day workweek may be the key to success for companies and their employees. The world’s biggest four-day workweek trial included the participation of 61 British companies, some of whom now say they won’t return to the regular Monday through Friday work schedule. The study was conducted by scientists at the University of Cambridge alongside academics from Boston College in the U.S. from June through November last year.” (Gizmodo)
  9. In Search for Sustainable Materials, Developers Turn to Hemp “As ballroom dancers twirl, and competitive Ping-Pong players swing their paddles in the French town of Croissy-Beaubourg, they are doing so in what some describe as the future of building construction. When the Pierre Chevet Sports Hall opened last year in the tiny municipality on the outskirts of Paris, it was the first commercial project in France constructed almost exclusively of hemp blocks. And many hemp enthusiasts predict this is just the beginning.” (The New York Times)
  10. Amazon Employees Ask Boss Not to Make Them Come Back to the Office “After Jassy told workers in a memo last Friday that workers would be expected to return to the office for at least three days a week beginning May 1, employees began to mobilize in an effort to get him to change his mind. Since October 2021, Amazon had allowed managers to determine how often employees needed to be in the office. According to CNBC, frustrated employees are currently drafting a petition to Jassy and other members of the Amazon executive team asking for remote work and flexibility to be protected, underscoring that the RTO policy would impact the lives of employees who had planned on location flexibility.” (Gizmodo)
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