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11 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Feb. 9, 2022)

Foreign investment in U.S. commercial real estate came back strong after a pandemic lull in 2020, reports The Wall Street Journal. Amazon plans to pull back from purchasing and leasing industrial properties, according to These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate market.

  1. Foreign Investment in U.S. Commercial Property Exceeds Pre-Pandemic Levels “Foreign investment in U.S. commercial property surpassed pre-pandemic levels last year, as overseas investors piled back in after travel restrictions eased and the U.S. economy bounced back. Pensions, sovereign-wealth funds and other foreign institutions purchased $70.8 billion of U.S. commercial real estate in 2021, according to data firm Real Capital Analytics. That was the highest total since the $94.6 billion invested in 2018, and nearly double the 2020 figure. Investors from Canada, Singapore, South Korea, the U.K. and other countries joined U.S. domestic investors to drive last year’s total commercial real-estate sales to record levels.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. Amazon Plans to “Moderate” Industrial Real Estate Spending “Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky has sent a strong signal to CRE investors that they shouldn’t count on the e-commerce giant to drive industrial real estate markets in 2022 by purchasing industrial properties for use as last-mile distribution centers or by absorbing the lion’s share of leased warehouse space. In a 4Q earnings call with analysts late last week, Olsavsky said Amazon would continue spending about 40 percent of its capital on building internet networks and systems; 25 percent on transportation assets; and about five percent on office and retail construction, but it but would taper the 30 percent of capital investment it’s been earmarking to expand fulfillment capacity.” (
  3. What Will 2022 Look Like for Senior Housing? “In the early days of the pandemic, senior housing communities faced serious difficulties, driven by uncertainties about the spread of the virus. And by the time science had unlocked the best ways to minimize transmission, senior housing occupancy had dropped significantly, while concerns had piled up. But 2021 brought a brighter outlook. Demand in the second half of the year was near record highs, with 21,000-plus units absorbed across primary markets, according to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. Occupancy followed the heightened demand, fueled by slow inventory growth that depicts current market conditions.” (Multi-Housing News)
  4. ‘I’m Scared’: Thousands in New York Public Housing Are Behind on Rent “Tens of thousands of residents of New York City public housing, many of whom lost their jobs after the city locked down two years ago, have fallen behind on their rent, raising fears that it will set off a rise in evictions. The problem has been compounded because public housing tenants have so far been shut out of a depleted pandemic rent relief program.” (The New York Times)
  5. New Robots—Smarter and Faster—Are Taking Over Warehouses “Advances in warehouse robotics, coupled with increasing labour costs and difficulty in finding workers, has created a watershed moment in the logistics industry. With covid-19 lockdowns causing supply-chain disruptions and a boom in home deliveries that looks likely to endure, fulfilment centres have been working at full tilt. Despite the bots, many firms have to bring in temporary workers to cope during busy periods. Competition for staff is fierce. In the run-up to the holiday shopping season in December, Amazon brought in some 150,000 extra workers in America alone, offering sign-on bonuses of up to $3,000.” (The Economist)
  6. Mall Owner Simon Reports Comeback in 2021 Results “After a rough 2020, the REIT beat earnings and revenue estimates in Q4 as retail picked up and it leaned into investments and redevelopment.” (The Real Deal)
  7. High-Tech Grocery Stock Delivers More Food, Less Profit “Supermarket stocks have been a good investment during the pandemic. The British tech company that is leading the grocery industry’s global shift online, less so. On Tuesday, shares in Ocado fell 12% after the e-commerce pioneer told shareholders that steep losses in its international business will continue in its 2022 fiscal year, despite plans to more than double revenue. Ocado is helping to build highly automated warehouses for major supermarkets like Kroger KR 2.14% and Canada’s Sobeys to make their grocery e-commerce businesses more efficient.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  8. Concern About Crime Stymies Return to Office in New York City “Business leaders are worried that crime will keep office workers away from their desks, causing restaurants, food carts, shops and other businesses in the city’s commercial districts to continue to see limited trade from commuters, disrupting the city’s economic food chain. But given that overall crime in New York City has declined for nearly 30 years, those fears may be running ahead of reality.” (Commercial Observer)
  9. Guy Fieri Is Betting on Ghost Kitchens Sticking Around. Here’s Why. “Guy Fieri is a restaurant owner and TV star, and he knows the food industry in and out. Ghost kitchens aren't going anywhere, the star told Insider in an interview. Fieri, who owns more than 80 restaurant locations and concepts and 175 locations of virtual concept Flavortown Kitchen, recently told Insider about the challenges facing the restaurant industry right now, including inflation and a shortage of workers.” (Insider)
  10. NYC Restaurants Lease Fancy Spaces Abandoned During Pandemic “Sushi chain Fushimi Group took over Hakkasan’s $10 million Instagram-worthy buildout near Times Square.” (The Real Deal)
  11. California Town Says Mountain Lions Don’t Stop Housing After All “For most of a two-hour meeting last month, the leaders of a wealthy Silicon Valley town debated a new state law that vexed them: Senate Bill 9, allowing developers to build duplexes on single-family lots. The same day, the leaders of the town, Woodside, Calif., declared the entire town a mountain lion habitat, blocking such development. Late on Sunday, two weeks after the announcement drew outrage from affordable housing supporters, ridicule on social media and the threat of legal action from the state attorney general, the Town Council abandoned its approach.” (The New York Times)
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