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Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell

10 Must Reads for Real Estate Investors Today (March 24, 2023)

Commercial real estate investors faced another Fed rate hike amid market volatility. Twitter is being sued for unpaid rent in Oakland, reported The Real Deal. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. CRE Sizes Up Fed’s Latest Rate Hike “The hike was primarily motivated by the Fed’s ongoing quest to bring inflation down to 2 percent, and took place on the heels of the second- and third- largest bank failures in the nation’s history. In discussions about both the context and necessity of the rate hike, industry experts don’t anticipate any new developments in the sector, rather, the move compounding on difficulties in financing, credit availability and transaction volumes. There is also some relief at the prospect of the hike representing an inflation leveling-off, as well as representing a pause in increases, which in turn would cool markets.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  2. Secondary Marketplace Offers New Liquidity Options as Non-Traded REITs Limit Redemptions “In the first week since LODAS Markets listed Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust shares, the secondary marketplace saw more interest than it has in the full month since it listed the nontraded REIT’s largest competitor. ‘We've actually had more response for BREIT already than we have for SREIT,’ LODAS CEO Brian King told Bisnow, referring to Starwood REIT, which listed in February.” (Bisnow)
  3. Oakland Landlords Sue Twitter Over Nearly $1.3M in Unpaid Rent “Landlords of an Oakland skyscraper have sued Twitter over nearly $1.3 million in unpaid rent. An affiliate of New York-based KKR and San Francisco-based TMG Partners have sued the social media firm for four months of back rent at 1330 Broadway in Downtown, the San Francisco Business Times reported. Twitter leased 66,600 square feet in the building in 2021 but last summer said it would not occupy the offices. The complaint says Twitter hasn’t paid rent since last November, a few days after the San Francisco-based platform was acquired by billionaire investor Elon Musk. Its lease runs through March 2029, according to the lawsuit.” (The Real Deal)
  4. Musk’s New Texas Neighbors Alarmed by His Huge Development Plans “Elon Musk’s companies are opening facilities across the country that come with promises of skilled jobs and economic growth. But some residents of this mostly rural area near Austin are watching with alarm as farmland turns into industrial development. Mr. Musk’s tunneling venture, the Boring Company, and space-transportation company known as SpaceX, are constructing massive buildings and digging tunnels on more than 200 acres of unincorporated land along the Colorado River. The billionaire’s ambitions there also include a company town, The Wall Street Journal has reported.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  5. The Fought-Over Flatiron Building Sells to Out-of-State Buyer “The Flatiron Building—the sail-shaped landmark wedged into Manhattan’s grid—has a new owner. In a court-ordered auction Thursday, a low-profile Virginia investment firm named Abraham Trust muscled out the current landlords with a $190 million bid.” (Crain’s New York Business)
  6. Why Bosses Who Praised Remote Work Sour on Productivity at Home “Meta Platforms Inc., a leader in remote work, recently told employees that it is pausing new applications to work from home. Salesforce Inc. executives said on an earnings call this month that remote hires took too long to get up to speed and that increasing sales representatives’ in-person schedules to four days a week was part of the company’s renewed focus on efficiency, along with layoffs. Three days in the office is now the standard at cybersecurity firm Rapid7 Inc., which until a few months ago didn’t have set requirements. The company says it studied employees’ in-person and at-home performance to arrive at that number.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  7. Apple Is Reportedly Taking Attendance Amid Back-to-Office Push “Apple has struggled to force its employees back into the office with its hybrid work plan, even though its employees have largely been antagonistic to the Cupertino company’s in-office working whims. Like we’re all back in grade school, Apple is just the next company that is reportedly taking attendance to make sure its staff are commuting at least three days a week to the office. Zoë Schiffer, the managing editor of the Platformer tech blog, tweeted Wednesday based on unnamed sources that Apple would use badge sign in records to track if they’re coming into the office.” (Gizmodo)
  8. Gov. Hochul Proposes Heavy Fines for Illicit Cannabis Shops “Illegal cannabis sellers could see sky-high fines under new legislation proposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday, giving state officials greater power to crack down on New York’s illicit pot market. The bill would set fines up to $10,000 a day for shops that sell cannabis without a license, and businesses found possessing illegal marijuana plants or products could be hit with penalties as high as $200,000, according to the proposed rules.” (Commercial Observer)
  9. State Launches Probe of Cannabis Licensing to Clean House of Corruption “State officials will audit corruption in cannabis licensing after a Times investigation uncovered allegations of bribery, conflicts of interest and other misdeeds.” (Los Angeles Times)
  10. California’s Population Is on the Decline, and High-Income Earners Have Joined the Exodus “California is losing population and it turns out that among those fleeing to other states, including Texas, Nevada and Arizona, are high-income earners that California relies on for state tax revenue.” (Los Angeles Times)
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