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10 Must Reads for Real Estate Investors (May 15, 2023)

Many companies have turned to hot desking as they reduce office space, but many employees hate it, according to report from The Wall Street Journal. Vornado Realty may be on the brink of defaulting on $2.6 billion in loans, according to The Real Deal. These are among the must reads from around the real estate investment world to kick off the week.

  1. Why Employees Hate Hot-Desking “There’s just one problem: Many employees hate it. They complain about the nuisance of having to hunt for a workspace every day they’re in the office, not being able to find a station that suits their needs, and no longer having a permanent space that they can personalize. Collaboration is harder, they say, and they feel less connected to their colleagues.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. Vornado warning: REIT slipping toward debt breach “The real estate investment trust could come to the brink of default on $2.6 billion worth of loans, analysts at the investment bank warned, as rising interest costs and other expenses squeeze its debt buffer to a razor-thin margin.” (The Real Deal)
  3. Office Revival Program Coming to Midtown Manhattan “Successful candidates for the program, which has been abbreviated as M-CORE, are to be selected through a development proposal and application process and will earn the credits for improvements to building layouts, infrastructure, energy systems, wellness offerings, amenity spaces and ground-floor commercial areas.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  4. The Rise of Zombie Buildings: Navigating the Challenges of the Post-Pandemic Office Market “The term ‘zombie buildings’ refers to those with utilization rates of 50 percent or less due to high vacancy rates and unused leased space. Many buildings have already reached this threshold. BCG’s research indicates that average vacancy rates have surged from 12 percent to 17 percent, while utilization has plummeted from 70 percent to 42 percent. This decline can be attributed to a substantial amount of leased space falling into the ‘at-risk’ category—space unlikely to be renewed.” (The Registry)
  5. The commercial property puzzle: Real estate investors refuse to write down assets despite public market pain “That’s the trillion-dollar question looming over private investors in particular as they gauge whether to start marking down the value of their property portfolios more aggressively. It is a complex puzzle: Not all commercial properties are equal; deals that set market prices are at a low ebb; and there is a healthy dose of discretion permitted in the way private investors weigh the matrix of variables.” (The Globe and Mail)
  6. Law Giving County Governments More Authority Over Short-Term Rentals Heads To Governor’s Desk “Local governments will have more leeway to determine how short-term rentals operate within their boundaries as a result of a bill passed in the final days of the Colorado legislature’s 2023 session.” (Bisnow)
  7. With $1B in pandemic back-rent due, LA landlords scramble to survive “To make up for the shortfall, many owners would cut services. “We have to be selective with expenses. We have to delay or cancel common area and unit upgrades. In some cases, mom-and-pop owners took out loans to keep properties operating.” (The Real Deal)
  8. Why Amazon Isn’t Checking Out of Groceries “Still, to really crack the grocery market, Amazon needs a bigger physical store footprint. Bricks-and-mortar shops still accounted for about 90% of U.S. grocery sales last year, according to estimates from UBS. And while the pandemic drove more consumers to shop for groceries online, many have returned to in-person shopping.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  9. REITs Complete Institutional Real Estate Portfolios: A Case Study of the Korean National Pension System “Recently, the National Pension System of Korea (NPS) announced that it will allocate $1 billion to a strategy benchmarked against a new completion-oriented index developed in collaboration with FTSE, Nareit, and the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA). A case study of NPS shows how a large institutional investor successfully designed and executed a REIT index and allocation to help complete their real estate portfolio.” (Nareit)
  10. Pickleball is replacing Bed Bath & Beyond and Old Navy at malls “Pickleball is coming to your local mall, replacing shuttered Bed Bath & Beyond, Old Navy, and Saks Off 5th stores. It may seem like a strange strategy, but the match offers benefits to both mall owners and pickleball players.” (CNN)
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