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11 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Apr. 21, 2021)

The pandemic didn’t fundamentally change where in the U.S. people were migrating to, The New York Times reports. One of the largest casinos ever built will open in Las Vegas in June, according to MarketWatch. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Travelers See Pre-Tax Catastrophe Losses More Than Double from Storms “Travelers Cos.’ pretax catastrophe losses more than doubled from a year ago for the company’s first quarter, due in part to winter storms. The property-casualty insurance company logged pretax catastrophe losses of $835 million. A year earlier, those were $333 million. The three-month period was the company’s highest first quarter ever of catastrophe losses, Chairman and Chief Executive Alan Schnitzer said in prepared remarks.” (Wall Street Journal)
  2. How the Pandemic Did, and Didn’t, Change Where Americans Move “Some smaller regional metro areas and vacation hubs benefited. But in general, areas that were already attracting new residents kept attracting them. Those that were losing migrants lost more. And there are few examples, at least in the data so far, of previously down-and-out regions drawing people in.” (The New York Times)
  3. This New York Hotel Quarantined the Sick. Now the Owners Regret It. “They said at least one guest canceled a booking after realizing the property was once a ‘Covid hotel,’ and say it is impossible to know how many others are staying away because of the stigma. Occupancy has been around 20% since the start of April, the Patels said, well off the 69% occupancy rate in April 2019. It is also below the national average of 59.7% for the week ending April 10, according to lodging data firm STR. Mr. Patel understands why guests would be hesitant to stay if they thought there was any lingering health risk.” (Wall Street Journal)
  4. Developers Flock to Cold Storage as Americans Stock Their Freezers “Developers that focus on cold storage facilities say they are seeing growing interest from companies seeking to build, buy or invest in the sector, despite construction costs that are roughly triple that of an ordinary warehouse. Americold, a logistics company focused on the cold storage supply chain, reported that its revenue grew 11.4 percent in 2020 from the previous year.” (The New York Times)
  5. Construction on $1B Life Science Project in Boston Begins “Life sciences REIT IQHQ Inc. and local co-developer Meredith Management have begun construction on their Fenway Center project, a $1 billion life science campus in Boston. The LEED Gold project will be built on an air rights deck that will connect the Beacon Street and Brookline Avenue bridges over the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90).” (Commercial Property Executive)
  6. One of the Largest Las Vegas Casinos Ever Built Will Open on June 24 “One of the biggest casino projects ever on the Las Vegas Strip has set a date to open, after more than seven years of planning and building. Resorts World Las Vegas announced Monday that it will open to the public June 24 and began taking reservations for more than 3,500 rooms at its three Hilton-branded hotels.” (MarketWatch)
  7. Cohen & Steers Forms Private Real Estate Group “Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE: CNS), a leading global investment manager specializing in real assets and alternative income, is pleased to announce the formation of the Cohen & Steers Private Real Estate Group, a team purpose-built for private real estate investing. The Private Real Estate Group broadens the firm’s opportunity set to include the $15 trillion U.S. commercial real estate market that is private, representing more than 90% of the U.S. market not owned by listed REITs.” (via press release)
  8. NYC Has a Lot of Empty Office Space. Does the Industry Appreciate Just How Much? “Despite optimistic proclamations from the real estate industry that the end of the pandemic is in sight, New York City’s office market continues to sink to new and unprecedented low points. The office vacancy rate in Manhattan reached 16.3 percent in the first quarter of 2021, up from 11.3 percent a year ago and hitting the highest level reported since 1994, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s most recent data.” (Commercial Observer)
  9. GM’s New Remote Work Plan for Employees Is Ambiguous, Yet Surprisingly Simple: ‘Work Appropriately’ “General Motors is taking a surprisingly simple approach to its return to work strategy for employees: ‘Work appropriately.’ That’s the message being conveyed Tuesday by CEO Mary Barra and other GM leaders about how the automaker plans to reintegrate its 155,000 global employees in a post-vaccine work world. It’s a flexible, evolving policy that will differ depending on the employee, week and project, according to executives.” (CNBC)
  10. Are Pop-Up Shops the Answer to Getting Reluctant Shoppers Back in the Store? “Before the novel coronavirus pandemic, pop-up stores had become a fashionable way for retailers to generate buzz. Now some are seeing them as a way for brands and retailers to get hesitant customers back into the spirit of physical retail. British fashion designer Stella McCartney, for example, opened her brand’s Old Bond Street flagship store in London to pop-ups of numerous local businesses to celebrate the lifting of coronavirus restrictions on U.K. retailers, according to an article on CNBC.” (Retail Wire)
  11. Amazon to Open First-Ever Hair Salon in London “Amazon announced Tuesday that it is planning to open its first-ever hair salon in East London as the e-commerce giant continues to explore new lines of business and promote some of the items it sells on its platform. The Amazon Salon, described in a blog post, will be spread over two floors of a building in Spitalfields, a trendy district near the City of London known for its shopping and restaurants. It will be open seven days a week.” (CNBC)
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